BOSTON (CBS) – The New England Patriots will host the Indianapolis Colts on Saturday night in their AFC Divisional Playoff game after the Colts pulled off an amazing comeback over the Kansas City Chiefs on Saturday night.
WFAN and The NFL Today’s Boomer Esiason joined 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Toucher & Rich on Monday morning, and said big comebacks are now a part of today’s NFL.
“These games are never out of hand. Fourteen to 17 to 21 points can be scored in bunches,” said Boomer. “This is what Andrew Luck has become known for in Indianapolis in two short years. He is a great player and already ahead of where Peyton Manning was in his young years. What will be interesting this week is will Luck be able to beat Bill Belichick and his defense in Gillette Stadium — something Manning couldn’t do in the playoffs.”
The Colts erased a 38-10 third quarter deficit against Kansas City, with Luck hitting receiver T.Y. Hilton for a 64-yard touchdown strike with just over four minutes left to beat a very porous Chiefs defense that surrendered 536 totals yards.
The Patriots secondary struggled late in the season, but should have a healthy group for Saturday night, and Esiason also doesn’t see them getting beat as badly as the Chiefs did on that game-winning touchdown.
“You have to understand what the coverage is and why that was able to happen. That coverage is that when T.Y. Hilton stays outside the hash marks, he’s going to be bracketed by the outside corner and safety. Hilton made a move like he was going to go outside, the safety moved his hips, and then [Hilton] goes back inside. The far-side safety is supposed to be watching the middle, especially if nobody is going down the sidelines. Indianapolis didn’t have anyone going down the sideline, so that guy was sleeping down the far hash. All of a sudden, Luck is able to throw the ball deep down the middle.
“I don’t know that we’ll see that against the Patriots, because the one thing I do know about the Patriots is that if the ball is in the middle of the field, 95 percent of the time a safety in front or behind the wide receiver; they’re not going to get beat over the top like that.”
Elsewhere in the AFC, the San Diego Chargers will travel to Denver to take on the Broncos after their impressive 27-10 win over the Bengals in Cincinnati. The Chargers beat the Broncos in Denver in Week 15, and though Esiason thinks the Broncos will win on Sunday, the Chargers will put up quite the fight.
“The former offensive coordinator of the Broncos is now the head coach of the Chargers; Mike McCoy. The last time these two teams played Wes Welker didn’t play; he’s going to play this week and he’s the one that creates all the nightmare matchups that the Bengals did not pose to the Chargers defense,” said Boomer. “I will say this about the Chargers; they have one of the smartest coaching staffs. The way they came out with the no-huddle and blitzed Andy Dalton in the second half, and the way the Bengals staff stood idly by and let it happen, it goes to show you just how good a smart coaching staff will be. That’s why Bill Belichick all these years has out-coached his contemporaries.”
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“This poses a major challenge for Denver. I think Denver will win the game, but this is a major, major challenge for Peyton, who thinks and sometimes. I know he’s over-thinking that his former offensive coordinator is the head coach of the team they’re playing. That’s got to be a little bit of frustration for Peyton heading into this game,” Boomer said.