Playoff Preview: Colts vs Patriots

By Chris Schisler

The Indianapolis Colts head to Gillette Stadium to face the New England Patriots in maybe the most intriguing game of the divisional round. Andrew Luck, fresh off the second largest comeback in NFL history, must be flawless to win this road playoff game. Luck’s counterpart is New England Quarterback Tom Brady who has played in 5 Super Bowls and won 3 of them.

The quarterbacks are what make this game so compelling. In an age of mobile quarterbacks who like to run the football, Luck and Brady are traditional pocket passers. Brady is a living legend, Luck may be one by the time his career is over.

The two quarterbacks are strikingly similar despite the significant age difference. They are both highly cerebral field generals. They both have great arms and great mechanics. Both the Patriots and the Colts believe their quarterback will come through at the end of a tough game with heroics.

This is a match up of two good teams but let’s be honest this is a match up is highlighted by the quarterbacks. The game will be decided by the play of Tom Brady and Andrew Luck.

The Patriots have young unproven weapons at Tom Brady’s disposal. The defense is not bad but is far from special. Without Tom Brady the Patriots would not be much of a team.

The Indianapolis Colts offense is growing up with Andrew Luck. Without the talents of the veteran receiver Reggie Wayne the offense is incredibly young. Second year players T.Y. Hilton and Coby Fleener have been Luck’s most dependable targets. Hilton is the unquestioned star of the receiving core.

The Colts rely on the undrafted free agent DaRick Rogers and the inconsistent Darrius Heyward Bay to produce for the offense. In the backfield Luck has a solid back behind him in Donald Brown. Brown’s back up is the disappointment that is Trent Richardson. The offensive line is at times shaky. The Colts are led by their stellar second year quarterback.

The Colts are probably the better team, but it is hard to pick against the Patriots. The Colts have a tendency to lay an egg. They were blown out by teams such as the Rams and Cardinals. They were down 28 points to the Kansas City Chiefs.

The Colts are also the team that beat the Seahawks and the Broncos ( The #1 seeds in the AFC). You never really know which Colts team will show up.

The Patriots defense will likely key in on stopping T.Y. Hilton. The run game is a real problem for the Patriots defense, however rushing is not the Colts M.O.

The question is can the Patriots put pressure on Andrew Luck; and can Luck avoid costly turnovers? The Patriots defense is far from it’s day of glory in the early 2000’s but it is opportunistic. When the bad Colts show up interceptions have been a huge problem.

The Patriots offense is heavily reliant on production from their running backs. The Colts defense is usually strong against the run. If the Colts can stop the run it could be a long day for Tom Brady.

The pass rush of the Colts, led by their leader Robert Mathis, is really impressive. When the Colts pass rush does not get there however it will give up big plays in the secondary.

This is an intriguing match up. The Colts are well suited to win but they will have to play their absolute best. The Patriots are tough to beat at home. At the end of the day it comes down to the quarterbacks. It may come down to who has the last possession. I know one thing for certain; this will be a highly entertaining game.

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