AFC Championship Game- Colts vs. Patriots

Vegas -6.5 Patriots

In favor of the Patriots

The Patriots will win by all accounts.  The strongest arguments for a Patriots win is their run game, Gronkowski, Belichick and recent history.  Not to mention that the game is being played in Foxborough where New England plays its best.

The last two times that the Patriots have played the Colts, the Patriots  ran for over 200 yards in each game.  LeGarrette Blount and Jonas Gray ran all over the Colts and are both still on the Patriots roster.  The Patriots have shown they are able to run effectively against the Colts.

Gronkowski is the best tight end in the game.  He is bigger and stronger than those he faces.  When not catching passes he is a great blocker.  The Colts don’t have an answer for him and at best can only try and slow him down.  He is a difference maker and when healthy it is hard for the Patriots to be beat.

Belichick is the smartest guy in the room.  He duped John Harbaugh, a Super Bowl winning coach, with line changes last week and is famous for his halftime adjustments.  He is very familiar with the Colts and has shown a consistent ability to game plan and prepare for the Colts.  He has made Luck look pedestrian and the Colts defense reminiscent of wet noodles against the run.

History:  In three tries Andrew Luck has played the Patriots he has been outscored 144-66.  An average loss of 26 points per game.  The games have been dominated by the Patriots and it seems that Belichick has them figured out.  Luck has thrown 8 interceptions and 6 touchdowns against the Patriots.  The deck is fully stacked against this Colts team.

In Favor of the Colts

There isn’t a good argument to be made why the Colts should win. EagleTribune.com tries to argue that they will, because Coach Pagano overcame Leukemia that will inspire the team to do the impossible.  Also, they make a case that Matt Hasselbeck has had a lot of experience and his expertise and his mentorship of Luck will help them find a crack in the Patriots defense.  In sports crazier things have happened (2008 Giants upset over the Patriots) if the Colts do win here is why.

New England’s offensive line struggled in the beginning of the season without Bryan Stork, because of injury.  Since he has been back they have been almost unstoppable.  He was hurt last week in the Ravens game and is out for today.

Daniel Herron recently has been an effective target and runner for the Colts. He wasn’t utilized in the earlier games against the Patriots.  Having another target could give the Colts a better chance.

Arthur Jones is a defensive back that will be in the lineup that was out against the Patriots last time.  He has been effective and might be able to make a difference, and help stop the Patriots run attack.  If they can get that under control they have a much better chance.  They seemed to hold Denver’s run game under control last week.

Andrew Luck is a great player and great players can have breakout games if the Colts win it will because he has an incredible game.

The Colts are playing with house money and teams with nothing to lose– play risky and occasionally it pays off.

Opinion

The Patriots will win this game.  They are playing at home.  Belichick will have an effective game plan and the Patriots will be able to run the ball effectively.  If the Colts are able keep the run game under control, you still will have to be able to deal with Brady and Gronkowski.  The Patriots can win games many ways if their running game isn’t effective.  They ran for 17 yards last week.

The only way the Colts will have a chance to win is if Andrew Luck has his coming out party.  Turnovers are mostly random and randomly he seems to have had a lot against the Patriots.  I think that will change and he will play well.  If that is the case and he has a stand out game that is the only way they will stay in it, but I expect the Patriots to at least cover, nonetheless.    Enjoy the game.

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