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Patriots-Colts matchup of the day: Thursday

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By PFW staff

Here's a matchup to watch in the Week 11 game between the Patriots and Colts:

Patriots RBs BenJarvus Green-Ellis and Danny Woodhead vs. Colts run defense

The Patriots are known for their high-octane passing attack and have won games on the arm of QB Tom Brady, not two undrafted players in the backfield. But both Green-Ellis and Woodhead have made solid impacts on the offensive side of the ball.

Woodhead has replaced Kevin Faulk as the team's third-down back and been a weapon catching balls out of the backfield. Green-Ellis is a power runner who ran for 81 yards against the Steelers — not an easy task.

The Patriots are 1-2 this season when they don't eclipse 100 yards rushing. They are 6-0 when rushing for more than 100 yards.

The Colts, meanwhile, have the league's 29th-ranked rushing defense and are tied with the Redskins, allowing a league-worst five yards per carry. While defenses usually need to work to game-plan against Brady and his host of receivers and tight ends, the Colts cannot afford to forget about Green-Ellis and Woodhead. A few big runs will set up the play-action pass and allow Brady to heave it deep. The Colts are starting a couple subs at the linebacker position and their defensive-line strength comes from the ends. If the Pats get into a rhythm on the ground, it will make their bread-and-butter passing game much more efficient.

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