Week 11: Indianapolis Colts At New England Patriots

Indianapolis Colts v Pittsburgh Steelers
New England Patriots v Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Rookie Andrew Luck is a remarkable talent who has had to go through a very small adjustment period in his first year in the NFL. He is already a very effective leader. He has a strong arm, an excellent release and he is a very accurate passer. Luck has full confidence in himself and his teammates believe in him as well.
Winner Tom Brady continues to be an elite quarterback in the NFL. While he has been questioned when the New England defense gives up a late lead and he has not always been successful in regaining the lead. Brady reads defenses extremely well and he has a powerful arm. Brady has a razor-sharp 18-to-3 touchdown-to-interception ratio.
The Colts want to give Luck some help with a dependable running game, but that may be hard to manage against the Patriots, who rank 9th in run defense. Donald Brown is not a big name, but he is good enough to take some of the heat off Luck. Brown is averaging 4.1 yards per carry and has rushed for 361 yards. Wide receiver Reggie Wayne is having a sensational season with 69 catches for 931 yards and 3 TDs.
Winner The running game has been impressive for Bill Belichick this year. Stevan Ridley has rushed for 814 yards and is averaging an impressive 4.7 yards per carry. The Pats have a plethora of receiving options. Tight end Rob Gronkowski is probably Brady’s best receiving option, but never overlook Wes Welker even though he has dropped a few passes this season.
Winner The Colts are not the most talented defensive team, but they combine speed and aggressiveness and are somewhat effective. They rank 18th overall and they appear to be getting better after limiting the Jaguars to 10 points in Week 10. Robert Mathis is the team’s most effective pass rusher with 6.0 sacks, but don’t overlook Dwight Freeney even though he has just 2.0 sacks.
The Pats continue to give opponents big plays and yardage with their ineffective pass defense. Belichick is hoping that newcomer Aqib Talib will upgrade this area because he is much more talented than any of the Pats’ other cover men. Cornerback Devin McCourty saved the Week 10 win vs. Buffalo with a late interception. He has three picks this season. Linebacker Jerod Mayo has a team-high 91 tackles and he gets help from middle linebacker Brandon Spikes, who has 61 stops.
Special Teams
Adam Vinatieri may not be the kicker he once was during the height of his career. He has missed 6-of-24 field goal attempts and 3 of his misses have been on kicks of less than 40 yards. Pat McAfee is averaging 47.8 yards per punt and gets excellent height on his kicks.
Winner The Patriots have plenty of confidence in Stephen Gostkowski and he has made 20-of-23 FG attempts, including 2-of-2 from 50 yards and beyond. Zoltan Mesko is an excellent directional punter who has dropped 19 of his 32 punts inside the opponents’ 20-yard line.

The Winner Is

New England Patriots v Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Winner Patriots
3 out of 4

It was always special when Peyton Manning would lead the Colts into New England; it should be just as special with Luck leading this overachieving team. The Pats would seemingly have the advantage because they are a veteran and talented team playing at home, but the Colts may be able to pull off a shocker.


  1. Mike Vick #2 of the Pittsburgh Steelers.  (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images) Philip Rivers  of the San Diego Chargers (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
    Week 5 Tale Of The Tape: Pittsburgh Steelers At San Diego Chargers

    The high-powered Pittsburgh offense was a bit out of sync against the Ravens in Week Four without Ben Roethlisberger, but it seemed like Mike Vick was pretty close to finding success.

  2. Colin Kaepernick #7 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images) Giants quarterback Eli Manning. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
    Week 5 Tale Of The Tape: San Francisco 49ers At New York Giants

    Colin Kaepernick is under extreme pressure to produce at a high level. That has not been happening, and the 49ers are in danger of seeing their season fall apart.

  3. Peyton Manning (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) ST. LOUIS, MO - NOVEMBER 30: Derek Carr #4 of the Oakland Raiders passes against the St. Louis Rams in the second quarter at the Edward Jones Dome on November 30, 2014 in St. Louis, Missouri. The Rams beat the Raiders 52-0.
    Week 5 Tale Of The Tape: Denver Broncos At Oakland Raiders

    Peyton Manning appears to have come to terms with the deficiencies in his game at this point. He can no longer whistle the ball downfield at the last minute, and some medium-range passes are difficult as well.

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