NFL Divisional Playoff: Indianapolis Colts v New England Patriots match preview
A look ahead to this weekend’s Divisional Playoff match at Gillette Stadium in New England
Friday 10 January 2014
Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts (11-5) face a daunting challenge when they take on the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium on Saturday. The Patriots (12-4) are led by 2 time league MVP and 3 time Super Bowl winning Quarterback Tom Brady who has yet to be beaten at home this season.
The Colts have some momentum going into the match, having completed the NFL’s second largest comeback in history last weekend. Andrew Luck led a stunning revival when his team beat the Kansas City Chiefs 45-44 despite being 28 points behind at one stage in the game. The fixture in Massachusetts this weekend is being seen as a battle of Quarterback generations.
Tom Brady, 36, is in his 14th NFL season and is poised for a Hall of Fame induction once he retires having broken numerous records and won several Championships. Andrew Luck, 24, only in his second professional season has surpassed expectations since being drafted by Indianapolis in 2012. He has led his team to consecutive playoff seasons following Indianapolis’s 2-14 embarrassment in 2011, all this whilst being compared to his positions previous incumbent, Peyton Manning.
The two teams are not without their issues going into the match. The Patriots are without notable players such as Defensive Tackle Vince Wilfork and Tight End Rob Gronkowski, who both suffered season ending injuries earlier in the year, whilst the Colts lost star Wide Receiver Reggie Wayne to a torn ACL back in October.
Although the Patriots have repeated their dominance of the league once again this season, winning their division for the ninth time in 10 seasons, their failure to win more Super Bowl titles has been evident. New England’s last Championship came in 2004 despite a playoff berth in every season since and a combined regular season record of 110 wins and 24 losses.
The Colts will be pleased to have produced such a stirring comeback last weekend, however, questions now hang over their Defence who placed the team in such a deficit in the first place; something that may happen again against a Brady led Offence. Although the Patriots have significant advantages going into this game, how the Colts’ young QB, Andrew Luck, fairs with trying to keep up with his opposite number may ultimately decide the contest.
KICK-OFF: Sunday, 1:15am
PAST THREE MEETINGS:
Indianapolis 24 – New England 59, Regular Season, November 2012
Indianapolis 24 – New England 31, Regular Season, December 2011
Indianapolis 28 – New England 31, Regular Season, November 2010
The Patriots lead the Colts in all time head to head matchups 10-5
Out of the 109 times the Patriots have played at Gillette Stadium, they have only lost 18 games, none of which occurred this season
Since the start of the 2012 season, no NFL quarterback has more fourth quarter comebacks or game winning drives than Colts QB Andrew Luck (11).
Patriots Quarterback Tom Brady has thrown for 4,343 yards this season and 25 touchdowns. Colts Quarterback Andrew Luck, who is 12 years younger than Brady, threw for 3,822 yards and 23 touchdowns in 2013
Indianapolis to win: 3.5
New England to win: 1.3
TV: Live on Sky Sports 3 at 1.15am, highlights on Sky Sports 3 at 11.30am
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