Rookie quarterback Andrew Luck has led his team to a surprising 6-3 record to start the season. This equals the Patriots and would be worthy of a playoff spot if the season ended today.
Unfortunately, there is still a lot of season left to be played as New England looks to get back to the top of the AFC.
Where: Gillette Stadium, Foxborough, Mass.
When: November 18 at 4:25 p.m. ET
Live Stream: NFL Sunday Ticket
Spread: Patriots (-9.5) via Vegas Insider
Injury Report via ESPN (as of Nov. 13)
LB Robert Mathis (Back) Questionable
CB Vontae Davis (Knee) Questionable
CB Jerraud Powers (Toe) Injured Reserve
DT Drake Nevis (Hand) Injured Reserve
TE Aaron Hernandez (Ankle) Questionable
S Patrick Chung (Shoulder) Questionable
LB Tracy White (Foot) Questionable
What They're Saying
As good as the offense has been for the Patriots this season, the defense has been equally as bad.
AP writer Howard Ulman details the problems that the team has been having on that side of the football (via Boston.com):
They’re missing tackles, giving receivers plenty of space and allowing long gains. Coach Bill Belichick, admired for his defensive brilliance, hasn’t figured out how to get his players to correct all that so they won’t need to make game-saving plays late in the fourth quarter.
The offense will help win a lot of games, but it will be difficult to win in the playoffs unless things improve.
Fantasy Big Plays
Patriots: Stevan Ridley
Bill Belichick loves to use a variety of running backs throughout the year, but Stevan Ridley seems to have taken control of the backfield.
The running back has gotten at least 15 carries in all but one game this season, and that has been more than enough for him to be productive, especially from a fantasy standpoint. He is currently No. 6 in the NFL in both rushing yards and rushing touchdowns.
Against the Colts, who have allowed over 120 rushing yards per game this year, Ridley should once again have a big game.
Colts: Andrew Luck
Regardless of who is under center, opposing quarterbacks always seem to have a good game against the Patriots.
Ryan Fitzpatrick and Mark Sanchez were both able to throw for over 320 yards, while Russell Wilson completed three touchdown passes with no interceptions.
Andrew Luck should have no problem continuing this trend after averaging 319 yards per game in the last three weeks.
He is getting his completion percentage up and making fewer mistakes, which will help him have a big day against this struggling defense.
Key Matchup: Andrew Luck vs. Patriots Secondary
Only three teams in the NFL allow more yards per game than the Patriots. However, the unit is also tied for sixth with 10 interceptions.
The rookie needs to be able to spread the ball around to keep the defense off guard. That means if Reggie Wayne is covered, T.Y Hilton and Donnie Avery should be in line for big games.
If Luck gets too focused on one target, the Patriots will be all over it and it will lead to a bad day for the Colts quarterback.
Prediction: Patriots 31, Colts 27
The Colts have shown a lot of resolve during the current four-game winning streak. Still, none of the opponents were at the level of the Patriots.
With Tom Brady playing as well as ever—he has thrown 18 touchdowns to only three interceptions this year—New England should be able to take care of business at home.
Follow me on Twitter for additional football analysis.