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Rivalry Renewed: Indianapolis Colts Host New England Patriots

Whatever you need to accomplish this weekend, make sure you get it done before 8:20 p.m. Sunday night. Don’t call your parents to tell them little Timmy lost his first tooth, your old man won’t pick up the phone. Don’t think about buying groceries, all the clerks will be huddled around the TV in the break room. Matter of fact, don’t bother driving, if you get  a flat NO ONE is coming to help you.

Why the sudden shun from society you ask? Because the big bright lights of the American sports world will be shinning on the Circle City as the New England Patriots take on your Indianapolis Colts.

This is the tenth meeting between these two AFC foes, and while New England has won five of the previous nine, the Colts have won four of the last five.

 

Lucas Oil Stadium will host a big game this Sunday night. Colts fans everywhere are hoping this is only the first of many big games being played at LOS this season.

Having all but locked up the AFC South title, the Indianapolis Colts can turn their attention towards the bigger picture, home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. Even with a league best 8-0 record, the Colts season really gets underway this Sunday night when Brady’s Bunch comes to Peyton’s Playhouse. You can bet that all of downtown Indianapolis, especially Lucas Oil Stadium, is going to be electrified with excitement as the Boys in Blue take on the New England Patriots.

The end of Week 9 in the NFL could not come quick enough for most in the sports media. As the Colts wrapped up another fourth quarter come from behind victory against the Houston Texans, analysts and columnists were already starting the hyperbole about this year’s version of the game of the century. I pray I am not the only one who finds fault is such thinking.

First, calling a rivalry game “the game of the century” every year it is played would at best make that the game of the year. Second, if the “game of the century” has taken place in the first decade of this century, I am going to be pissed with what the next 90 years of sports have to offer.  Regardless what your personal stance on this game is, the only thing you need to realize is that is big.

This game is so big, that for the past three years it has coincided with “sweeps week” in order to boost TV ratings. And the reasons it is so big has to do with those who are involved.

Up until this season, this game was always portrayed in the Indianapolis media world as a battle of good versus evil–the mild mannered , scripture quoting Tony Dungy vs. sweatshirt shredding, spygate using Bill Belichick. While Coach Dungy has retired, and will be watching the game from the NBC studio, Indianapolis sport’s fans don’t need to worry about current Colts coach Jim Caldwell becoming acclimated to the hype and importance of this game; he has been on the sideline of every match up these two teams have had since 2002.

The last time Tom Brady played in Indianapolis, he was involved in the greatest comeback in conference championship history.

 

The true face, or faces of this rivalry for AFC supremacy, are those of the quarterbacks involved, Peyton Manning and Tom Brady. Both signal-callers have recovered from knee injuries last season that required surgery. And while Peyton was able to schedule his surgery preseason, thus allowing him to get back on the field without missing a regular season snap, Brady was not so lucky. Not too many people schedule a torn ACL after all. With his absence, last year’s game lost most of its luster, and while the Colts won 18-15 it just was not the same.

So lets get to the particulars shall we…

If you have already heard and read to much in preparation for this weekend’s game between the Indianapolis Colts and the New England Patriots, I would like to suggest you take a few minutes and read this in-dept article about Dallas Clark written by ESPN’s Jeffri Chadiha. It gives a great look at the personal life, and struggles, of the Colts big tight end. After reading it you wont be able to help but like the guy even more.

No one is going to want you to hear this, but this game is not AS important as everyone is making it out to be. I am not saying it is devoid of drama and serious implications, but it is not the end all be all, we are only in Week 10 …after all. With seven games left on both of their regular season schedules, these two teams could still miss the playoffs. I stress COULD. But we need to put this in perspective. A win this weekend would be great, but no Super Bowl has ever been won in mid-November.

With both teams playing well and Brady looking like the No. 12 of old, I get the feeling that this is only round one of head-to-heads we will see these two teams in this year. It just seems that they will meet again in the playoffs, and this Week 10 match up will help decide where the game is played. If the Colts win, it will push their record to 9-0 while placing the Patriots back to 6-3.

With a three game lead in the loss column, and the tie-breaker, the Colts would had a virtual 3 1/2 game lead on New England for home field advantage. With a Patriots victory the gap closes, not only between these two, but also between the Indianapolis Colts and the other three teams that share the Pat’s 6-2 record at the moment.Peyton and the boys seem like they can play anywhere, but I am sure they are all hoping for the comfort of Indy all post season long.

Who is going to decide the outcome of this game? The Indianapolis defense of course. The Colts defensive squad has been decimated with injuries all year long, and most of them have proven to be season-ending. Despite these setbacks, their mentality of “next man up” has them ranked as one of the best overall defenses in all the NFL. Rookies are playing well, replacements are stepping up and the remaining veterans are as good as ever.

The Patriots do not possess much of a running game, so Tom Brady will most likely look to air it out early and often. Much like the Colts, he has three key position players that make life difficult for the opposition. Wide receiver Randy Moss is still one of the best in the game so depending on how well Colts cornerbacks Kelvin Hayden, Jerraud Powers and Jacob Lacey can contain the deep ball will go a long way in deciding the outcome.

Across the middle is Wes Welker who has proven to be a tough player to contain. Welker is the prototype for what the Indianapolis Colts hope to accomplish with both Anthony Gonzalez and Austin Collie. Welker eats up a bunch of yards on every catch he makes and will be seen zipping around the entire field. In big tight end Ben Gates, Brady has a trusted receiver who is not as versatile as Dallas Clark, but proves to be a huge target in the red zone.

All of this will be inconsequential if Robert Mathis and Dwight Freeney can get around the Patriots offensive line. Knowing that Brady is going to pass often lets these two Tasmanian devils do what they do best, spin and sack. They might not always look effective, but by the fourth quarter they usually wear down the opposition. In a game that might come down to the final possession, this will be key.

On offense, Peyton Manning is going to get his yards and completions, but will need to be more creative than usual. The Patriots have always game planned just as well, if not better than everyone else in the NFL. So look for them to force players other than Dallas Clark and Reggie Wayne to beat them. Through the air, Peirre Garcon will have to step up on the outside, as Peyton looks to the rookie wide out Collie to have an impact over the middle.

An added boost to the Indianapolis Colts offense has been the semi-reemergence of Joseph Addai as an offensive weapon. In consecutive weeks now, Addai has played a major role in the Colts come from behind wins. Addai should get some help, as the Colts try and run the ball, from rookie runner Donald Brown, who plans to play after missing the last two weeks with a shoulder injury.

I mentioned after last week’s win that Indianapolis has not put together a full four quarters of efficient offensive play since their Week 6 bye. As the weather is getting colder,they Colts opponents are getting better. And while come from behind victories make for an exciting finish, some of their future foes will be to far ahead to come from behind if the offense can’t manage a full game. An in tune offense will prove the difference between watching January football from Lucas Oil or your own love seat.

Prediction for this week, the Colts baby. While New England has more on the line and would benefit greatly from a victory, it will not be. I have a feeling that Jim Caldwell is going to show a bit more fire in his gut than his predecessor, and get the Blue Horseshoes ready to run. I’ve never given a score ahead of time before kickoff  because each game has its own flow that dictates how things will play out. But, I too have a fire in my gut and sometimes you just have to go with it….. Colts 27 – Patriots 21.

The game can be found on Channel 13 WTHR on TV and 97.1 Hank FM on the radio.

Be sure to come on back to funcityfinder.com Monday morning as we wrap up the Colts action from this Sunday night’s game.

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