2014 Patriots Playoffs: Breaking Down the Colts

David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

Here are some basic details you need to know about the Colts

Offensive Ranks

Passing:

17th in passing yards (Patriots 10th)

15th in pass attempts (Patriots 7th)

17th in Pass Offense DVOA (Patriots 7th)

Andrew Luck Ranks:

6th in QB rushing yards (Brady 26th)

7th in interceptions (Brady 11th)

10th in sacks (Brady 19th)

11th in pass attempts (Brady 5th)

12th in passing yards (Brady 5th)

15th in passer rating (Brady 14th)

16th in touchdown passes (Brady 11th)

19th in completion percentage (Brady 17th)

Receiver Ranks:

Colts:

T.Y. Hilton t-19th in receptions, 18th in receiving yards,

Coby Fleener t-66th in receptions, 66th in receiving yards,

Darrius Heyward-Bey t-152nd in receptions, 150th in receiving yards

Donald Brown t-159th in receptions, 164th in receiving yards

Patriots:

Julian Edelman 4th in receptions, 21st in receiving yards

Danny Amendola t-59th in receptions, 62nd in receiving yards

Shane Vereen t-89th in receptions, 118th in receiving yards

Aaron Dobson t-121st in receptions, 88th in receiving yards

Kenbrell Thompkins t-136th in receptions, 102nd in receiving yards

Rushing:

21st in rushing yards (Patriots 9th)

13th in yards per carry (Patriots 9th)

11th in Run Offense DVOA (Patriots 6th)

RB Ranks:

Donald Brown 3rd in yards per carry (LeGarrette Blount 6th, Stevan Ridley 18th)

Brown 19th in touchdowns (Blount and Ridley t-14th)

Brown 38th in rushing yards (Ridley 21st, Blount 22nd)

Brown 45th in rushing attempts (Ridley 25th, Blount 32nd)

*note - neither team had a set running back for the entire season due to injuries. Brown is a dangerous receiver.

Overall:

T-14th in points scored (Patriots 3rd)

15th in total yards (Patriots 7th)

15th in yards per play (Patriots 11th)

1st in turnovers (Patriots 9th)

29th in Offensive DVOA Variance (Patriots 24th)

Offensive Advantage: Patriots

The Colts offense is under a high point of turnover. Hilton is their only consistent receiver, while Griff Whalen, Da'Rick Rogers, and LaVon Brazil have stepped up as WR2 and WR3 over the past couple of weeks. Coby Fleener is a strong receiving tight end, who lacks a lot of ability in the blocking game. Donald Brown is their RB4 who has emerged as their RB1 due to injuries (Vick Ballard, Ahmad Bradshaw) or just a general bad case of "Trent Richardson."

Over the past four games, Hilton has seen over a third of Andrew Luck's targets (52/154) and almost half of the receiving yards (509/1171). Whalen (26), Rogers (16), Fleener (15), Richardson (13), and Brown (12) are the remaining targets. You'll note that Luck relies heavily on the check down game, so a top notch performance from Dont'a Hightower will be imperative to victory.

In the same time span, you'll actually be surprised to see that Richardson has out-carried Brown 44-38, even though Brown has outgained him 200-132. Don't be surprised if the Colts coaching staff stops messing around and only plays Brown (and it looks like they started in the Chiefs game, with Brown out-snapping Richardson 57-10). Luck is also a scramble warning, so gap integrity will be hugely important. Don't be surprised if the Patriots dial back the pressure on the edges and use Sealver Siliga to crush the pocket up the middle.

If the Patriots can remove Hilton (expect Kyle Arrington with Devin McCourty over the top), that leaves Aqib Talib to match up against Fleener, and Logan Ryan against the third target. With Steve Gregory prowling underneath, Jamie Collins can help shadow the outlet receiver and Hightower can be an enforcer.

---

Defensive Ranks

Passing:

13th in passing yards (Patriots 18th)

8th fewest pass attempts (Patriots 23rd)

13th in Pass Defense DVOA (Patriots 14th)

DB Stats:

DVOA:

13th vs WR1 (Patriots 15th)

21st vs WR2 (Patriots 28th)

24th vs WR3+ (Patriots 21st)

25th vs TE (Patriots13th)

15th vs RB (Patriots 20th)

Pro Football Focus:

Colts:

-Positive-

#3 CB Vontae Davis

-Negative-

#46 S LaRon Landry

#53 S Antoine Bethea

#61 CB Darius Butler

#75 Greg Toler

#76 Cassius Vaughn

Patriots:

-Positive-

#1 S Devin McCourty

#19 CB Kyle Arrington

#26 S Steve Gregory

#30 CB Logan Ryan

#33 S Duron Harmon

#58 CB Aqib Talib

-Negative-

#70 CB Alfonzo Dennard

Rushing:

26th in rushing yards allowed (Patriots 30th)

25th in yards per carry (Patriots 24th)

22nd in Run Defense DVOA (Patriots 27th)

Front 7 Stats:

Pro Football Focus:

Colts:

-Positive-

#2 3-4 OLB Robert Mathis

#10 3-4 DE Cory Redding

#17 MLB Jerell Freeman

#25 3-4 DE Ricky Jean-Francois

-Negative-

#28 3-4 DE Fili Moala

#31 3-4 OLB Erik Walden

#35 3-4 OLB Bjoern Werner

#40 MLB Kevin Sheppard

#41 3-4 DE Ricardo Mathews

#47 NT Aubrayo Franklin

Patriots:

-Positive-

#6 4-3 DE Rob Ninkovich

#6 MLB Brandon Spikes

#12 4-3 OLB Dont'a Hightower

#15 4-3 OLB Jamie Collins

#23 4-3 DE Chandler Jones

#29 NT Sealver Siliga

-Negative-

#55 DT Joe Vellano

#69 DT Chris Jones (dead last)

Overall:

9th in points allowed (Patriots 10th)

20th in yards allowed (Patriots 26th)

22nd in yards allowed per play (Patriots 17th)

T-15th in turnovers (Patriots T-10th)

32nd in Defensive DVOA Variance (Patriots 14th)

Defensive Advantage: Statistical push, individual Patriots

While the Colts don't have a dazzling presence on their defense beyond the incredible Mathis and the dinged up Davis (groin), they somehow have kept pace with the top defenses in the league. Sound familiar?

Lucky for the Patriots, the top three cornerbacks (Davis, Butler [hip], and Toler [groin]) are all fighting injuries. Sound familiar?

The Patriots should be able to attack the Colts defense who, over the past four games, have played the Chiefs twice, and the Texans and Jaguars once a piece. The Patriots offense is slightly more potent than any of those, even though the Colts allowed 20 points combined in the finals three weeks of the regular season.

The weakness of the Colts defense will be in their secondary, so the health of Julian Edelman (healthy!), Danny Amendola (groin), Aaron Dobson (foot), Kenbrell Thompkins (hip), and Shane Vereen (wrist) will be important to attack and push back the Colts defense. Beyond Mathis, though, the Colts aren't able to consistently pressure the quarterback and there isn't a positive pass defender behind the dinged up Davis and the slightly above average Landry.

The Patriots, in all likelihood, won't be able to establish the run in the same way they did against the Bills. Redding, Jean-Francois, and Mathis are all great run defenders, while Bethea and Walden can support in the second level. If the Patriots are to get LeGarrette Blount rolling in the cold weather, they'll have to start by attacking the Colts secondary with Edelman and Amendola on quick strikes. Once the second level is spread out, Blount should be able to bull the Colts over for a few yards.

In the end, the Patriots should be able to prevail. They match up well against a hurt Colts secondary, while eliminating Hilton (a Belichick specialty) effectively reduces the Colts offense to checkdowns and seam throws to Fleener (who should be double teamed).

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