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Patriots-Colts matchup of the day: Friday

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Recent posts by Kevin Fishbain

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Posted Nov. 19, 2010 @ 1:56 p.m. ET
By Kevin Fishbain

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

Patriots defensive line vs. Colts offensive line

The Pats attacked the Steelers' front in Week 10, sacking Ben Roethlisberger five times and putting Pittsburgh's offense completely out of sync. They will be hard-pressed to have similar success blitzing Peyton Manning, who has been sacked just 12 times this season — tied with his brother Eli for the fewest among quarterbacks who have started every game this season.

What blitzing against the Steelers did for the Patriots was it took pressure off their young secondary and forced Roethlisberger to deliver the ball quickly. They took away any deep routes he could throw to Mike Wallace and will want to do the same to Manning who will be looking to hit WR Reggie Wayne deep.

Blitzes by safeties and linebackers opened things up for the Pats' defensive line, specifically Mike Wright. Wright, NT Vince Wilfork, and DL Brandon Deaderick will have to do a better job of winning individual battles against the Colts' O-line if they want to have an impact on Sunday.

Colts C Jeff Saturday is one of the best in the business, and OLT Charlie Johnson has battled a foot injury but is still a solid blind-side protector for Manning. The Patriots may line up LBs like Tully Banta-Cain or Jermaine Cunningham on the line to utilize their speed to go after Manning without having to take players out of coverage.

The Pats' biggest challenge will be to slow Manning down, and blitzing could make him better, so the defensive line will have to find its own way to get after it and keep the Colts from scoring at will.

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