SATURDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL: NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS AT INDIANAPOLIS COLTS

BY ADAM GREENE

Saturday Night might be alright for fighting, but it’s pretty good for NFL football too. Our special Sabado nightcap comes in the guise of the New England Patriots traveling to the Midwest to take on the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium.

There are multiple playoff implications in this one. A loss probably knocks the Patriots out of the No. 1 seed in the AFC for at least a week. If the Colts are defeated, they might be completely out of the AFC playoff bracket, depending on what happens with a couple of other games Sunday.

This was, of course, one of the preeminent rivalries in the AFC from 2002-2018 and was usually settled in the playoffs if not the AFC Championship game. Of course that had plenty to do with Peyton Manning, Tom Brady and Andrew Luck. None of those guys will be playing in this game.

The Pats lead the all time series 52-29 and have won eight consecutive match ups over Indy going back to 2010 including two in the postseason and one in the AFC Championship. That’s the Deflategate game, if you didn’t know and ended up getting Brady suspended for four games the following season. They last butted heads on Oct. 4, 2018 with New England claiming a 38-24 win. Luck threw for 365 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions in the game. Eric Ebron caught nine passes for 105 yards and two TDs. Brady was good for 341 yards, three touchdowns and two picks. Sony Michel had 18 carries for 98 yards and a TD.

NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS AT INDIANAPOLIS COLTS (-2.5, O/U: 45.5)

Location: Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis, Ind.

Broadcast:  NFL Network

Kickoff: Dec. 18, 8:15 p.m.

NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (9-4)

The Pats roll into this one rested and relaxed after knocking off the Buffalo Bills 14-10 before they took their bye in a game that should shame upstate New York for the next year at least. Mac Jones attempted just three passes in the high winds and completed two of them. Damien Harris rushed 10 times for 111 yards and a touchdown, but most of it came on his TD run of 64 yards. Rhamondre Stevenson was the workhorse, carrying the ball 24 times for 78 yards. New England’s defense sacked Josh Allen twice, held him to just 145 yards passing and 39 yards rushing.

INDIANAPOLIS COLTS (7-6)

The Colts basically had two weeks off counting their bye, rolling over the Houston Texans 31-0 before getting a seven day rest. Carson Wentz didn’t have to do much, throwing for 158 yards and a touchdown. Jonathan Taylor carried the ball 32 times for 143 yards and two TDs. Michael Pittman Jr. had six catches for 77 yards. Indianapolis’ defense sacked Houston’s QBs four times and intercepted Tyrod Taylor once. They held the Texans to 84 total yards rushing and 57 total yards passing.

THE PICK

Indianapolis has to be all in here, because another loss could doom any real hope for a postseason run. They are the superior team and the favored team. Head coach Frank Reich has matched wits with Bill Belichick before and won going away in Super Bowl LII. It would not surprise me if it wasn’t particularly close. It shouldn’t be. Colts 33, Patriots 17

Last week

Straight up: 8-6

Against the spread: 7-7

Season

Straight up: 124-83-1

Against the spread: 106-102

Follow Adam Greene on Twitter @TheFirstMan.

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