In the lead up to the Patriots vs. Colts Divisional Playoff match-up, I asked the Pats Pulpit staff their predictions for the game. I'm not going to say these are biased. Actually, I will. These are biased, but at least we gave it our best shot.
This New England Patriots team, on paper, is nowhere near as good as the teams fielded from 2010 to 2012. The latest Patriot to go on injured reserve gives us just another reason to think this team could be one-and-done in the playoffs. Yet there is some kind of ineffable aura surrounding this squad that makes it nearly impossible for me to pick against them in this spot. I believe that both of these teams match up fairly evenly on paper. It may be naïve to an extent, but I'll be riding destiny's coattails on this one. The Pick: Patriots 27 Colts 20
I realized very early this season that trying to predict anything that is going to happen to these 2013 Patriots is an exercise in futility. I’m at the point where virtually no result would surprise me in the slightest and I can see this game going either way via any number of scenarios. 45-0 Patriots? Sure! 24-3 Colts? Why not! 0-0 after six overtimes and they have to call the game on account of Gillette Stadium running out of toilet paper? Who knows! That said, I do think that New England has the edge here in mental toughness, big play ability, and ground game consistency. A cold, wet night at Gillette isn’t going to help the visiting dome team either, and should the weather render both passing games ineffective, the Patriots have a big advantage in the rushing attack. The Pick: Patriots 31 Colts 21
Who would have thought that this team would have made it this far? If you go back and read many of the articles posted on Pats Pulpit, ESPN, the Boston Herald, etc. throughout the regular season, you would've easily thought this team was a slight tier above the barrel-scrapers; but they've made it, sitting pretty, with a sparkling 12-4 record and a playoff game within the friendly confines of The Razor. Wow. Andrew Luck is by far the most talented, able- bodied quarterback the Patriots have played in weeks (a gimpy Joe Flacco quasi-counts), but I don't think the endless pile of injured Patriot bodies is a talking point this week--this team refuses to be outclassed by other teams' talents, and it's going to take some key coaching maneuvers and some clever game management to take this one from them. I don't think the Colts are there yet, but they will compete and, to no one's surprise who's been paying attention this season, it'll be close. The Pick: Patriots 24 Colts 20
The city of Boston suffered multiple deaths and injuries during the Boston Marathon bombing. People stepped up, like ex-Patriot Joe Andruzzi, to make a difference during the tragedy and during the days and weeks that followed. I think the patriots season is mirroring that event to an extent. The season started with a tragedy, and has been riddled with injuries and IR (football season death), yet each and every week someone steps up to make a difference. I think the resiliency of the team is reflecting the resiliency of the people of Boston after the tragedy. This is a team that will never be counted out. The Pick: I never pick scores (at least since Black Sunday), but the Patriots gut out a win. They've never had more to play for.
One team is coming off an exhausting week where they did the near impossible to scrape out a last second win. The other team calls that "the regular season". Well, both teams can call it "the regular season." The difference is the Patriots are going to come out hungry, while the Colts won't be able to overcome any mistakes they make. Even with the signs pointing towards the Patriots, it's going to be a close game. Some team is going to make a huge play to save the day and carry their team to the next week. Brandon Spikes has already volunteered for the reaping. The odds are already in the Patriots favor. The Pick: Patriots 27 Colts 24
I really don't see the New England Patriots losing this game unless Tom Brady plays horribly, which shouldn't happen against the Indianapolis Colts' subpar defense. I think two weeks is plenty of time for Josh McDaniels to design an improved gameplan for the offense. Plus, it's the playoffs, so we might see the Patriots finally unleash their no-huddle. Defensively, the Patriots will have success if they're able to contain T.Y. Hilton. I'm expecting to see him receive double coverage on plenty of occasions, with a corner down low, and Devin McCourty over the top. Keeping Andrew Luck will also be of paramount importance. The Pick: Patriots 35 Colts 21
So there you have it, a clean sweep for the Patriots from the Pats Pulpit stat. What's your score prediction for tonight's game?