Before I start this article, I want to point something out to the readers. ESPN came out with an article that compared Brady and Manning, and some of the comparisons were a bit surprising. The one that stuck out the most was when the article stated that Manning was the most mobile QB in the NFL. Really, ESPN, Really? Anyways, onto the preview.
The matchup this weekend should be another good battle for both teams. This year, however, is different from matchups in the past because both teams are dealing with boatloads of injuries and have had to make adjustments.
The Pats offense is looking to pick up where it left off last week against Pittsburgh. Brady threw for 3 TD’s, all to Gronkowski, on his way to a 350 passing yard performance. The pats were able to throw the ball so successfully because they established a running game. They need to do that this week again versus Indy’s depleted defense. If the colts have to worry about our running backs, then there is no question that Brady can make their secondary look foolish.
There was a lot of talk last week about the rise and fall of Gronkowski and Hernandez in the passing game, respectively. I look at that and think that the Pats favored how Gronk matched up against Pittsburgh’s D. Don’t be surprised if the speedy Hernandez is incorporated heavily into the Pats offense this week. Another key for the Pats is guarding against Indy’s DE’s. Freeney and Mathis have combined for 13.5 sacks this year and can definitely be a force.
The pats defense also had a good game against Pittsburgh, and will be looking to repeat that this week. We all know what Peyton Manning can do, so that is definitely going to be the focus this week. The top three running backs on Indy’s depth chart are all injured, so they will be relying on Jarvaris James this week. James actually was on our practice squad at one point, but then was cut and made his way to Indy. Nothing too threatening there.
Patrick Chung came back last week and his presence was definitely felt on the field. Next to Wilfork, I think he is the biggest difference maker when on the playing field. Look for a lot of nickel and dime packages to protect against the pass.
Shayne Graham was shaky in his pats debut last week , missing a PAT. Hopefully he will be a little more comfortable at Gillette, as it as a turf field and provides more stability.
A couple of finishing notes to monitor leading up to the game.
-Fred Taylor has been practicing this week, so he may be active come Sunday.
-Darius Butler was a healthy inactive last week, which was a surprise, so it will be interesting to see what the Pats will do with him this week.
-Backup safety Jarrad Page has also practiced sparingly this week, and if he is active Sunday he will likely jump right into an active Special Teams role.