I can't agree with you more, I think the Patriots finally take it to the Colts this year and end their losing streak now that we're back in Foxborough.
Also, you're right, everybody wants to make excuses as to why the Patriots are winning... "oh this guy is hurt and this guy is a rookie". The Patriots are starting 24 players this year that are only in their 1st or 2nd season as a pro... hell our starting corner Devin McCourty is a ROOKIE! If and when the Patriots beat the Colts, everybody will come out in defense of the golden boy Peyton Manning and talk about how the Patriots just got lucky because Manning didn't have Clark to throw to, and Bob Sanders wasn't in the game or whatever. Other than Tom Brady and Vince Wilfork, the Patriots might as well be fielding an MF'n college team every Sunday. Go Pats!
Colts will win 35-17.
Indy is ready for NE, but I dont think NE is ready for Indy. They have a soft schedule they havent played any teams except for San Diego and Dallas that have a shot of making the playoffs. While the Colts have one of the toughest schedules in the NFL. The Colts D is better than last year they are the top ranked D against the pass and only two teams have allowed fewer pts to be scored on them than Indy and NE isnt one of them. Miami scored 28 pts on them a winless team scored 28 pts on the Pats...if Miami can do that how many pts can Indy score on the Pats, and consider this the Colts are averaging 32 pts agame and giving up 15 pts a game against teams with winning records...the Pats are winning by an average of 21 pts, but most of those teams don't even have a shot at making the playoffs. The game being in Indy is just icing on the cake...it has been said homefield can be worth an extra 7pts on the scoreboard.
I knew they could do it! Now everyone who kept saying oh Tom Brady this Tom Brady that, they can go eat crow.
I am so happy right now. That was a great game. I was right on the edge of my seat. 4 picks off Brady, now that just makes my night.
Peyton Manning is fantastic. And so is Cato June. I love that last pick to seal the deal!
Here's my ranking from most likely to least with the odds in parentheses.
1. Indianapolis Colts (3:2)
People tend to forget the Colts outplayed the Patriots for 50 minutes and at times even managed to slow down Tom Brady. Then the wheels came off the wagon as the Colts allowed the Patriots to score two quick touchdowns and Peyton Manning lost a critical fumble. In addition to all their offensive weapons, the Colts allowed the least points in NFL and boasted the NFL's #1 pass defense, allowing only 167 yards a game. Yes, the loss of Dwight Freeney hurts, but the Colts still played some pretty darn good defense after he got hurt too. The Colts have a substantial advantage over the Patriots in the ground game with Joseph Addai, which may be a critical factor in the likely event of bad weather in Foxborough. The key will how be how well Peyton Manning well handles Belichick's complex defenses and the bad weather, things he has not handled very well in past. In their Week 9 matchup, the Colts' defense did their part holding the Patriots to a season-low 24 points and although Addai had a huge game, the Colts managed only 20 points and the argument could be made that Manning didn't pull his weight. It's not very often that you talk about Manning as a potential liability, but if he can play anywhere close to as well as Brady, I think the Colts have a very, very good chance to do the impossible and beat the undefeated Patriots.
2. San Diego Chargers (5:1)
Yes, the Patriots did crush the Chargers 38-14 in Week 2. However the Chargers were simply not a good football team the first quarter of the season, so I'm not going to read to much into that game. Heck, they lost by 14 points to 4-12 Kansas City early on. Since Week 5 they've averaged 28.5 points scored and 15 points allowed per game compared to NE's 36.8 points scored and 17.1 points allowed and Indy's 29 points scored and 16.4 points allowed season average. That would suggest that the Chargers at least belong in the discussion. On offense they have the best RB with Tomlinson and the best TE with Gates in the NFL and that makes it difficult for anyone to defend. Defensively they are very good also and led the league in turnovers forced. They intercepted 30 passes (8 more than any team in the NFL) which could come in very handy against a team that passes as much as the Patriots. Phillip Rivers is inconsistent and it would require him to have his best game of the season though. Also even though San Diego had a strong finish to the season, I still feel that Norv Turner is a very poor record. There are some question marks, but the main ingredient you need to upset the Patriots is talent and the Chargers have an awfully lot of it. All in all I think the Chargers are the team with the second best chance to beat the Patriots.
3. Jacksonville Jaguars (10:1)
The Jaguars have a very good team and will likely go into Pittsburgh and win, but can the ground heavy Jaguars possibly score enough points to win against an offense as good as the Patriots? David Garrard had a very solid season but benefitted from not having to pass much because of the Jaguars' running game. If Jacksonville falls behind early and is forced to pass more than usual can Garrard handle the increased load? I doubt it, especially without a single above receiving threat. The Jaguars only chance is for horrible weather that bogs down New England's passing attack.
4. Dallas Cowboys (10:1)
The Cowboys scored the second most points in the NFL behind the Patriots and managed to score a very respectable 27 points in their Week 6 matchup. That's the good news. The bad news is their defense allowed the Patriots to score 48 points that week and for the season allowed the second most points of any team going to the playoffs. Also Tony Romo had a phenomenal season but his play the last three weeks of the season has been shaky. I have to wonder about his confidence going into the playoffs given that and his botched hold last year against Seattle in the playoffs. Also will Terrell Owens be fully healthy from his ankle injury after the bye week? The Cowboys are still the favorite in the NFC, but beating New England is a long shot.
5. Green Bay Packers (20:1)
The Packers were the only one of the 13-win teams that New England. Brett Favre is a great story and has proven that he can carry his team to big wins, but beating New England would really be stretching it. He did managed to beat the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XXXI, but it will be a little harder to beat Tom Brady than Drew Bledsoe. After the Steelers, the Packers are the team that I'd most like to see win it all, but realistically.....well let's just it's more likely than it will be 80 degrees in Green Bay this winter.
6. New York Giants (30:1)
This ranking for the Giants is a good deal higher than I thought it would be say two days ago. I was impressed with how well the Giants played against the Patriots Saturday, particularly in a game that meant nothing to them. That was the best game I've seen Eli Manning play in a while. Still the Giants allowed the most points of any team going to the playoffs, making it extremely unlikely that a rematch would even be as close as Saturday's game.
7. Seattle Seahawks (30:1)
Seattle is turning into an annual division winner in the otherwise pathetic NFC West. However they beat only one team with a winning record this year which leads me to question how well they will do in the playoffs. Matt Hasselbeck had a very good season, but Shaun Alexander looks like he's completely over-the-hill. I don't think this Seahawks team is as good as the ones who made it to the Super Bowl two years ago, let alone good enough to challenge the Patriots.
8. Pittsburgh Steelers (50:1)
Before their Week 14, Anthony Smith infamously guaranteed a win vs. Patriots. What an idiot. Smith was frequently picked on as the Patriots crushed the Steelers 34-13. The Steelers have struggled badly the second half of the season, losing to the Jets and Ravens, almost losing Miami, and the once-mighty defense got mauled in losses to New England and Jacksonville. The season ending injuries to Aaron Smith and Willie Parker don't exactly help matters much either. Thank goodness we played St. Louis at the right time or we probably wouldn't be going to the playoffs. So what's more likely: Anthony Smith guaranteeing another win or the Steelers making a credible run at beating the Patriots? I'll leave that one up to you.
9. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (50:1)
Like Seattle, the Bucs benefitted from an awful division. The Bucs defense is solid allowing the fewest points in the NFC, but they lack the offense necessary to play with New England. Jeff Garcia is an above average quarterback and doesn't make mistakes, but he doesn't have enough playmakers around him.
10. Tennessee Titans (100:1)
I think Jeff Fisher is a heck of a coach. Every year you think the Titans are going to be awful, yet he always manages to have his team in contention. Their defense is also very good and underrated. However the Titans only scored 18 points a game, by far the least of any team going to the playoff. The Patriots scored at least 20 points every game this season. You do the math.
11. Washington Redskins (100:1)
The Redskins are a feel-good story rebounding to make the playoffs after the tragic murder of Sean Taylor. Sooner or later we're going to have to see a reason why Todd Collins went over 10 years between starts. Oh and by the way when the teams met in the regular season, the Patriots pulled out a cliffhanger 52-7.
Well people probably don't check or don;t care that there are 29 other similar posts, lol. And the reason they play each other every year is because a couple of reasons relative to ratings and hype.
First reason: Tom Brady vs Peyton Manning. These are the two best qbs in the league. They are both going to Canton at the end of their careers and will be among the best qbs and will break great feats along the way. It's like the modern day era of Montana and Marino. But then on top of this with these two great qbs that are very popular and big names. We as NFL fans have not had such luxuries in the past with the way things worked out as far great teams and qbs playing against each other. I mean think of hype there would have been if Marino played a game against Montana's niners? I mean for all of Elways and Marino's careers they only played each other a few times, but when they did it was newsworth, because they are one of the best qbs in the history of the NFL going at it.
Reason 2- These have consistently been the best two teams in the league the past 5 or more seasons. And the Colts are just in the South, so it's not like they are making a big adjustment here with the schedule.
Reason 3- The Rivalry that has come from these two great teams and the story lines that have evolved from this. I mean it was not too long ago that it seemed that the Patriots had the Colts number. For the best 5 season these two teams have met each other. And in this the Colts lost some heartbreaking games and just hard fought games that are bound to creat such rivalries. I mean I hate the Pats as a Dolphins fan, but I would also hate the Pats if I was a Colts fan with the way they have lost in the past seasons againg the Pats. One season the Patriots were up 38-14 at Indy in the second half. Indy storms back and is down 34-38. And they have the ball at the Patriots goalline with little time left for the go ahead TD whcih u wouild think. Well they get stuff one yard short on all downs and one yard with little time left from winning the game when the pats were reeling the wholte time. Talk about heart breaking. T
Then they meet again in the playoffs and the Pats beat them again. And another close game where the colts miss a last second fg that would have tied the game to bring it to OT in the next regular season game. They meet again in the playoffs and the pats knock them out again win another superbowl and have basically been the obstacle that have stopped the colts from getting to the superbowl for the most part.. AFC championsip game or playoff game after the other, and each time the Pats beating them. Then you add the story line about Manning having great stats but Brady has the Rings, Belechick is in Mannings head as Manning plays great against other teams but struggled against Bill's Pats in these losses. So all this drama added and finally the past two seasons the Colts get the "monkey off their backs" and finally beat the Patriots for the 2005 season and then last season a victory in the regular season and then that dramatic victory in the championship game and now it's a full blown rivalry since it's not once sided anymore, but very competitve and such instense games that rivalries brings along with the fans even thought not in the same division, I think not likeing the other team not too much.
This has become an out of division rivalry that can happen sometimes when teams are great, therefore, meet each other a lot from regular season and later on in the playoffs each year. Kind of like how the Cowboys and 49ers were like big rivals and playing each other in hard fought game and the hype there, because of the two top teams and qbs. But you add all these elements to it that is even bigger for the Pats and Colts, and you are damn well sure schedule makers are going to chart these two teams playing each other at some point in the season, becaue of the reason I have stated that adds hype and fan interest, which equals excitment, thus ratings. Therefore, great for nfl fans and great for broadcasts. The Colts were a former AFC East team too.
This game could go either way. I think this Colts team of Luck and Pagano presents a much tougher scenario for the Patriots to beat than Peyton and Dungy did and there are several reasons why:
1. Andrew Luck is much more mobile than Peyton. So when the receivers are covered, he presents a big running threat due to his size and speed.
2. This Colts team does a much better job of covering receivers. As the sportscasters here in Boston pointed out, the Colts covered the Chiefs receivers very well. The main way Chiefs receivers got open was by Colts defenders having to pull off their receiver to cover Alex Smith from getting the first down. Brady can't run, so that's a threat the Colts don't have to worry about. And that's how they basically beat a similar quarterback to Brady when they beat Peyton and the Denver Broncos.
3. The Colts team is doing an excellent job of putting pressure on the quarterback. Mathis leads the league in sacks. And when Werner is thrown in on the opposite side they can really up the pressure on the QB. Walden is good at knocking balls down on the opposite side and great at stopping the run. And then Cory Redding can blast the QB right up the middle. So Brady may have guys rushing at him at all sides.
4. This Colts team can run the ball far better than Peyton's teams ever good. Brown is having the best year of his career and Richardson can get tough yardage. Brown is a very significant threat.
5. The Colts may have lost a lot of receiving talent due to injuries but the rest of the guys are really stepping up. Hilton just had a game with over 200 receiving yards and 2 touchdowns. Da'Rick Rogers is a big and fast receiving threat that can be just as deadly. And for those Pats fans out there, Fleener can remind you a little of Gronk. He's not as muscular. But he's big and can easily beat out defenders with his size and speed. And Whalen kind of reminds you of Edelman or Welker. He's a small guy but he rarely misses a pass and has to be watched out for too.
6. This Colts team can also stop the run. That's something that Peyton's teams could never do.
7. The Colts team also is an explosive team that never gives up. They just made the 2nd best NFL playoff comeback of all time, making a 28 point come from behind victory. And Luck tied Peyton's record for come from behind victories in a season in just his rookie year.
8. For those that are thinking, well the Pats beat the Colts last year, no big deal. This is a completely different team scenario than last year. Last year the team was a patched together team with major salary cap issues and a ton of rookies with no experience. That team also liked to throw the ball a ton and didn't run the ball much. This team on the other hand is far more experienced with all of the free agents they brought in. All of those rookies from last year have experience now. And they are far more run oriented. So you need to worry more than just about Luck. You have to worry about their run game too.
9. The Colts special teams unit is also doing a much better job than in previous years. They avoid big returns and can pin the other team deep, making it much harder for the other team to score. They also led the league in fewest turnovers and fewest penalties. So it's going to be hard to get a cheap few yards through a penalty.
Overall, I think this will be a very close game. It will likely come down to which team has the ball at the end of the game for the final 4th quarter drive. The Pats looked very explosive in their final home game. But that was Buffalo. And the Pats haven't played in a few weeks so they may come out a little rusty. If the Pats get a little over confident or come out stale they'll lose this game because the Colts are on a hot streak.
Also keep in mind that the Pats are missing some key components. Gronk is out. That hurts them bad on offense. And their biggest key on defense, Wilfork is out. I think the Colts come in and pull out a razor slim win. The Pats have failed to win against good defensive teams like the Panthers and Bengals and Jets this year.
Belichick is simply a defensive genius. If the Pats get an early lead, I think this game will go badly for the Colts. If the Colts can keep their crowd into the game by staying close in the fourth quarter, maybe they can finally break the "curse of the Patriots" in the playoffs. Vinateri is a very valuable piece of the puzzle for the Colts and his acquistion was a very smart move for the Colts. If they had him last year they probably would have beaten the Steelers in the playoffs. The last two games for the Colts have surprised me as well as many observers who watched their defense rolled over by Jacksonville late in the season. Which defensive team shows up today for the Colts? The team that shut down a very good Baltimore Ravens team, or the team that was pushed all over the field by the Jaguars? The Patriots are the best team left in the playoffs by far and I think a Colts win today is probably the equivalent of a Super Bowl title because the AFC again this year looks superior to the NFC. Belichick and Brady is just not the team you want to be matched up against in the playoffs. Maybe today the Colts can get it done, but I wouldn't bet $1 against the Pats, their playoff history is overwhelmingly positive and this QB has demonstrated time and time again he can perform with the game on the line. Statistics mean absolutely nothing in the playoffs. Manning has monster stats and terrific receivers, but no SB rings. Brady does not have the stats Manning has or the Hall of Fame receiver and excellent compliment of receivers they have had intact now for several seasons. But Brady is just not the QB you want to see in the playoffs. My prediction is Pats 31 Colts 15. I'm still not sold on this Colts defense and watching Belichick over the years has made me respect his ability to take away an integral part of any offense with his defensive strategies. Manning has the reputation of losing in college in the big game (look at UT's record against Florida during the Manning years), and now in the pros it's the New England Patriots that have stood in his way in the playoffs and shut the door on this talented QB twice before. It is probably not fair but Manning will be judged as a great statistics QB (like Marino) who couldn't win the big game if today's opportunity ends like the previous two against the Pats and of course last years heart-breaker against the Steelers. Maybe today all that ends for Manning and the Colts, they have heard it so much I'm sure they are sick of hearing how they always manage to lose the big games. Good luck to them and all their loyal fans!!