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Patriots-Colts matchup of the day: Thursday

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Recent posts by Kevin Fishbain

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Posted Dec. 01, 2011 @ 2:10 p.m. ET
By Kevin Fishbain

Here's a key matchup to watch in the Week 13 game between the Patriots and Colts:

Patriots RB BenJarvus Green-Ellis vs. Colts run defense

As stated in this week's 60-second rant, this Sunday's game is as good as any for the Patriots to focus on the rushing attack and have a very productive day on the ground.

Assuming New England can build a big lead, they can get Green-Ellis the rock often, which can build his confidence and that of the O-line's. The run game hasn't been too consistent this season and the Patriots need to show the rest of the AFC that their offense is not all Tom Brady.

The Law Firm has averaged only 26.3 rushing yards in the team's three losses. Those defenses bottled up the run and forced New England to be one-dimensional. The Colts have the league's 31st-ranked defense, and any type of rushing numbers would be taken with a grain of salt, but that doesn't mean the Patriots shouldn't seize the opportunity to have an explosive day on the ground.

The Colts will counter with LB Pat Angerer, who leads the team in tackles. In front of him, rookie DT Drake Nevis has played well and should be a good challenge for C Ryan Wendell and the rest of the interior O-line as they make holes for Green-Ellis.

This also could be a good game for Danny Woodhead to return to form. Woodhead has battled injuries this season and rarely has been able to break off any big runs. There is more company in the backfield now with rookies Shane Vereen and Stevan Ridley, but Woodhead was a big weapon last season on the ground and as a receiver.

Bill Belichick made it very clear this week in a fiery press conference that stats and records don't matter. He doesn't look at his team's play any differently based on the opponent. With that in mind, the Patriots would benefit from a big rushing output on Sunday.

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