Pre-Game Meal: Patriots vs Colts

Patriots vs Colts

Belichick came up an inch short last year against the Colts.

NEPD Staff Writer: B. Delabarrera

Well, here we are at Colts Week and the hype is just as big as we expected. With this annual inter-divisional rivalry game shifting back into New England for the first time since November 2007, many are anticipating the series to also shift back into New England’s favor.

It’s been a long time since Patriots fans have reveled in a victory over their arch-nemesis quarterback Peyton Manning. With victories piling up on the Indianapolis Colts and the Patriot defense soaring after a huge win at Heinz Field, this may be the prime opportunity for the young defense to take advantage of their weak opponent.

In my opinion, the rest of the season pretty much depends on this Week 11 showdown: a loss could mean tragic things as far as this season’s development goes. All-world tight end Dallas Clark, RBs Joseph Addai and Mike Hart, LBs Clint Session and Gary Bracket, and safety Bob Sanders will all be missing this afternoon’s game with injuries. WR Austin Collie  and DB Kelvin Hayden are still listed as questionable. The holes on defense will certainly ease the job of the offensive line and wide-receivers alike.

The lack of Dallas Clark has put huge pressure on the young Indy tight ends such as Jacob Tamme and Brody Eldridge, but somehow with the help of Manning these young guys have been able to step up and help the Colts to a 6-3 record. Will the Patriot defense be able to step up and keep the ball out of Manning’s hands enough to allow Tom Brady and his veteran core group of leaders to put up points on a beat up Colts defense? We sure hope so…

The 2nd-Best-Quarterback-in-Sunday’s-Matchup vs. The Patriot Defense: Peyton Manning is definitely doing some miraculous things over yonder there in Indy; that’s for sure. But as Colts fans are surely learning the hard way, there’s only so much that Peyton Manning can do without his trusty TE at his disposal.

Not to mention the only halfbacks that will be attempting to run the ball on Vince Wilfork, Jerod Mayo, and Jermaine Cunningham will be Donald Brown and Javarris James… Yes exactly, with virtually a one-dimensional offense and poor rush-blocking I expect coach Belichick to be serving his most special defensive dishes for Peyton.

We all know how glorious the feeling is when pressure overwhelms No. 18 and “The Face” makes its way onto all of our television screens… expect to see it a few times in Gilette Stadium.

DB Devin McCourty has been having one helluva season thus far and if he can manage to contain Reggie Wayne, Manning will be forced to go through his check downs. With S James Sanders over the top on Wayne and Garcon locked up by McCourty, the Patriots could also utilize Patrick Chung on some blitzes to really get to Petyon Manning. Reggie Wayne (questionable) will be difficult to deal with if he plays. The 4-time pro-bowler has 758 yards and 3 touchdowns receiving this season; well on his way to his sixth +1,000-yard season.

Tom Brady & His Line vs. Dwight Freeney & Robert Mathis: This duo of mass destruction has accumulated 13.5 sacks so far this season (6 and 7.5 respectively) and have been causing havoc across lines of scrimmage nation-wide.

Sacking quarterbacks is just one facet of this team. Dwight Freeney swats down passes and puts consistent pressure on the quarterback while his buddy Mathis constantly helps collapse pockets and keeping backs from breaking gains.

If Fred Taylor makes his way back on to the field today, expect to see him back up defenses and make it possible for Tom Brady to connect of big play-action plays. Even if Fast Freddy can’t make it back, The Law Firm and Danny Woodhead have been doing enough to make the offense run smoothly.

Offensive tackles Matt Light and Sebastian Vollmer will the the men assigned with the task of taming the beasts on the edges; maintaining the pocket is key for Brady, every extra second he has to visually pick apart this battered defense increases the chances of a completion and the length of the play.

Even though the Colts usually do well in containing enemy TEs, I anticipate a high level of involvement from at least one of either Aaron Hernandez or Rob “Heinz Field Hat Trick” Gronkowski. WR Brandon Tate will also be looking to make his way back on to ESPN’s Top 10 too; look out!

Pierre Garcon vs. Patriots Secondary – With the Colts’ receiving-TD leader, Austin Collie, questionable for today’s game, Garcon should see more attention from Peyton Manning.  Assuming the safeties will be keeping a close eye on Reggie Wayne, being physical with Pierre Garcon will be crucial in containing him. Cornerback Kyle Arrington will probably see most of the snaps against Garcon and must keep his confidence high early.

Wild Card – DB Devin McCourty: his coverage on Reggie Wayne will determine the amount of extra DBs that can focus their attentions elsewhere. If he can prove himself to be both the smart and skilled cornerback that the Patriots drafted first over all other CBs in the draft and keep Wayne quiet, Peyton Manning will be forced to pass in panic and make mistakes. Without much of a running game at all, the Colts will need Reggie Wayne.

35-24 Patriots

-B.DelaBarrera

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