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Must see TV Sunday Night, Colts at Pats
Saturday, November 4, 2006
Posted by jaygross
Comments: 0

This is what many of us have marked on our calenar as THE regular season game no to miss. 7-0 Indy comes to 6-1 New England for their annual grudge match. I am a die hard Patriots fan (suffered two 1-15 seasons in 3 years in the pre-Parcells era), so I can't wait.

I absolutely can't stand all the hype Peyton Manning gets. I accept that he is a great talent and will one day hold every passing record imaginable, but there is more to being the best than just putting up the best fantasy stats ever. Let's not forget he has fantastic weapons (Harrison, Wayne, and Edge should all be HOFers) and he plays in a dome.

Winning in the big games is what seperates the very good (Manning, Marino, Fouts, & Warren Moon put up huge numbers) to the truly all time greats like Unitas, Montana, Otto Graham, Bradshaw...

Then there's the Manning antithesis, Bill Belichick and Tom Brady. They win, they win, and then you take away key guys and they still win. These guys can adust to just about anything and any opponent given preparation time. Look at how they abandoned the run and picked apart Minnesota with 5 receiver formations - Brady made mediocre receivers look awfully good.

Then there's Manning, who consistently gets flustered by blitzing 3-4 schemes (Pittsburgh, San Diego, New England). In last year's playoffs, I felt like I needed to reach through my TV to perform the Heimlich on the Colts after that chokejob. And it was so bush league to throw his linemen under the bus after the game, you're the QB who calls your own plays and you need to call for adjustments.

Here's why I think New England will win:

  1. Indy can't stop the run
    The Broncos had 175 yards on 17 carries last week, so good luck stopping Maroney and Dillon. Tony Dungy's cover 2 defense needs the horses he had in Tampa, but I am just not seeing Warren Sapp, Derrick Brooks, and John Lynch in their primes on this Colts defense (Freeney is about the equivalent of Simeon Rice then). I expect to see more runs than from a tourist who drinks the water in Mexico.
  2. The Pats defense is going to stop the run
    I don't buy into Addai being as good as Edge. The Pats have yet to allow more than 17 points this season. They completely shut down the run last week, and Minnesota has Birk, McKinnie, and Hutchinson up front (much better than the Colts' line). Toward the end of the game, the amount of pressure they brought on poor Brooks Bollinger was awesome - Tully Banta-Cane got confused and thought his name was Derrick Thomas (I have now sunk to a new level mentioning Tully Banta-Cane in a blog).
  3. Home Field Advantage
    The Razor will be rocking with fans tailgaiting for too many hours - I have tailgaited at Foxboro, its awesome. Although the forecast is clear from snow and rain, it should be in the high 30's to low 40's with wind - not exactly favorable conditions for passing downfield.
  4. The Pats receivers are getting healthy and acclimated
    Last week Brady hit 10 guys and had TD passes to 4 different guys. To the whole world's surprise (mine most of all), Reche Caldwell looked darned good getting open. Chad Jackson and Doug Gabirel are finally on the field and have made some nice runs after the catch and TE Ben Watson is a matchup nightmare for LBs.

If I am wrong, I am ready for all the trash talk... But I still need to see Indy win in January before I shut up and change my opinion.

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