Patriots-Colts matchup of the day: Friday

Posted Dec. 02, 2011 @ 4:17 p.m.
Posted By Kevin Fishbain

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

The Patriots vs. a possible letdown

There aren't a whole lot of matchups on the field that can give the Colts much of an edge, but that's why they play the game, and the Patriots need to avoid any kind of letdown against the winless Colts.

The Patriots are 20-point favorites, the biggest number we have seen this season. Even with as porous as the Patriots' defense has looked at times, the Colts haven't been able to muster much of anything on either side of the ball.

New England is also rounding into form, posting one-sided victories over the Chiefs and Eagles in the past two weeks, and there's little doubt the Colts won't be able to slow down Tom Brady.

Expectations are that the Patriots can win this game by three touchdowns. Dan Orlovsky starting at quarterback for Indy certainly didn't change many minds in Vegas. This Colts team did, however, have the ball with a chance to tie against the Steelers in Week Three, but since then, they have lost by single-digits three times — the most recent such game was a 28-24 loss to the Chiefs in Week Five.

It is obviously important for the Patriots to ignore the Colts' record and treat it like any other game, and that mentality could see the Pats putting plenty of points on Indianapolis. As well-coached as New England is, it is still a very young team, especially on defense, with plenty of players injured. This is not to say the Patriots are ripe to hand the Colts their first win, but it is important to show the rest of the league that these Pats are just as dominant as last season's 14-2 squad.

At times this season, the Patriots have looked mortal, not just in their three losses, but early in their games against the Dolphins, Chiefs and Eagles. This is the type of game the Patriots should win by a big number, and they will look vulnerable to the rest of the AFC if they struggle to do so.