Home > NFL > Patriots Might be Last Team who Can Keep Colts from 16-0

Patriots Might be Last Team who Can Keep Colts from 16-0

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If you happen to have slept through the last three weeks, you could be excused for missing just how dominant the Patriots have been since dropping a close one in Denver a month ago.  If you weren’t aware that the 8-0 Colts were one of the best teams in the NFL, I’ve got some stage setting to do.

The Colts and Patriots will play once again this week from Lucas Oil Stadium in a game that NBC is billing as “the rivalry of the decade.” (not coincidently, it’s the Sunday Night game).  It’s not a stretch to make that claim though, since this game features the two quarterbacks, now in their early thirties, who have become the face of the NFL this decade.

And in an act of poetic justice, the Indianapolis Colts could be headed for 16-0, unless the New England Patriots can stop them.

Both of these teams were members of the old AFC East, along with the Miami Dolphins, who are the only other team to go through a regular season undefeated.

More than ever now, the Colts have been a one man team.  Peyton Manning leads the NFL in completion percentage, yards per game, and sack rate.  Think about what those statistics have in common.  Basically nothing.  About the only thing you can say is that they all correlate positively (and perhaps that’s not even true about sack rate).  Coming from someone who already thought Peyton Manning was the best quarterback to ever play: it’s astounding.

Peyton Manning might be having the best quarterback season, ever.

Somehow, though, the Colts are only tied for 5th in the league in points scored, and though they sit comfortably in third place in the all-important point differential, they don’t seem to come off like a team that didn’t lose a game in the first half of the season.  The Patriots on the other hand, are 6-2, a hair away from 5-3.  And while their dominance might have snuck up on you, it’s undeniable.  They are one point ahead of the Colts in point differential, and they fought through some early struggles from their passing game to average better than 28 points per game this year.

Point differential creates an imperfect comparison when you give the Patriots a +59 figure for one game against the Titans:  the Colts were just as dominant in Nashville, but only scored a +22.  The Patriots have won comfortably when they were supposed to.  The last three games, they’ve been largely untouchable.  And that’s what observers have come to expect.

The difference in this game is that the largely untouchable goes up against the team that has yet to be touched.  The AFC is notably strong at the top this year, but if the Patriots can’t handle the Colts, the only games on the schedule that could be considered a challenge would be the two games to immediately follow: @ Baltimore, and @ Houston.  Unlike in past years, there are no playoff contenders lurking on the Colts schedule in December.  If the team–who placed three key defenders on IR last week–is good enough to handle the best the AFC can throw at them, the Colts should be headed for 16-0.

I’ll say this: 2009 is not the year to be that team who heads into the playoffs in the AFC undefeated.  Between the Patriots, Steelers, Broncos, and Chargers, there will not be an easy playoff win for any team.  Still, we’re talking about making history, and at the very least, matching the very most impressive thing the Patriots have done this decade: that 16-0 regular season.

I think a lot of really smart people, myself included, feel that the Patriots will win this game.  The NFL has a problem if they do not.  A big problem: the Colts simply cannot be stopped.

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  1. November 13, 2009 at 1:28 am
  2. November 13, 2009 at 1:32 am

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