When Indianapolis has the ball:
|T.Y. Hilton understands there are always more Patriots, like ants, like roaches, like legions out of Valhalla.|
Andrew Luck is for real, and this is a big game in his career because it can help him gain legendary status--remember the time Andrew Luck went into Foxboro and put the final proverbial nail in the Brady-Belichick era--or this can be one of those proverbial Jordan versus the Pistons moments--remember the time the old guys taught Andrew Luck how the game is supposed to be played. Either way, barring some unseen catastrophe of the mind, body, or spirit, this game will help to shape the substance of Andrew Luck as opposed to the idea. It's cool this is happening against Brady, and it's cool he's wearing a Colts uniform, which lends a very Alpha and Omega aspect to the whole event. In the beginning Brady battled the Colts, and in the end he battled the horse upon its return from the land of nonexistence. This is cool, or at least should be.
New England has Darrelle Revis. He's intense. He's aging. He's more intense. His days with the Jets and the Bucs make today an especially ripe moment for him to etch his name into the postseason narrative. He probably, to some extent, because he's intense, both wants and needs this moment. All logic suggests Luck will not look Revis' way. If the Pats are vulnerable, it's in the middle of the field. Luck and the Colts can attack this defense by through slants and underneath routes. Then the edges of the field and the territory beyond the safeties should become navigable for settlement. Watching Andrew Luck, his beard like a bundle of wool wire, lead an offense always seems reminiscent of those mid-century Disney cartoons about Paul Bunyan and Pecos Bill. He's young. He's ambitious. Goshdarnit, he just wants to prove himself. Now is his chance, and it's not at all a cartoon.
When New England has the ball:
|Gronk say, Gronk must destroy pretty white horses.|
As usual for New England, and this does not take a lot of time or effort to parcel out, they are playing a defensive unit that is less experienced in these situations than they are. In the past, when such units have resembled the renegade revivalism of the Baltimore Ravens or the bullish strength of the New York Giants, wry cleverness has cracked like a dry twig wedged in the steel jaws of a bear trap. But the Colts are not this kind of team. They do not intimidate or overwhelm. They are a middle of the pack defensive unit, and middle of the pack means that they can be figured out, dissected, analyzed, and defeated. Moreover, the Patriots know how to score against this team. Here are the scores from the two teams' last five meetings:
-Nov. 16, 2014 Colts 20, Pats 42
-Jan. 11, 2014 Colts 22, Pats 43
-Nov. 18, 2012 Colts 24, Pats 59
-Dec. 4, 2011 Colts 28, Pats 31
-Nov. 21 2010 Colts 28, Pats 31
In fact, the last time Indianapolis beat New England was in 2009. Tom Brady quarterbacked the Patriots, but Andrew Luck was still about three years away from being drafted. Brady knows how to beat the Colts. Brady has beaten the Colts. The question is when and how does that dominance come to an end. So far, the Andrew Luck-led Colts have had only the very worst of answers.
Bryan Harvey can be followed on Twitter @LawnChairBoys.