BOSTON (CBS) — The New England Patriots are back in action this Sunday night with a big road game against the Indianapolis Colts.
The 6-3 Colts are actually 2.5 point favorites heading into the game, boasting a 3-1 record at Lucas Oil Stadium this season. The NFL is falling in love with Andrew Luck, now in his third year in the league, and the Colts have one of the best offenses, averaging 337.4 yards per game.
But with their stout defense (most notably in the secondary) one would think the Patriots would still be favorites, even on the road. The Boston Globe’s Ben Volin joined 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Toucher & Rich on Tuesday morning, and while they may be underdogs, he doesn’t think the Patriots will have many problems with Luck and the Colts on Sunday night.
“The betting public loves Andrew Luck, and he can light up the scoreboard. The Colts had a bye too, so the Patriots won’t have a rest advantage; both teams will be refreshed and well-rested. I’m slightly surprised [about the line] because it’s a national game, and crazy things happen on those night games, but I think the Patriots are going to roll,” said Volin. “I think the Colts’ defense is just pathetic, and (I have no idea) how they’re going to stop Rob Gronkowski this week.
“Remember what the Patriots did to them in the playoffs at home last year? I don’t think it’s going to be that bad, but I think the Patriots are going to romp again this week.”
Volin said Tom Brady should be able to take full advantage of a poor Indianapolis pass defense that ranks 27th in the league, allowing 263 yards per game.
“It’s not just the secondary, their linebackers aren’t that good. They have smaller, more athletic linebackers who might be able to keep up in a foot race with Gronk, but don’t have the strength at the line of scrimmage to knock him off his route. I think Gronk is going to feast on those linebackers,” said Volin.
Corner Vontae Davis will likely be on Brandon LaFell, which Volin says should be a good matchup. But with Davis on LaFell, Volin says that will clear things up for Julian Edelman over the middle.
“The middle of the field is going to be open all day and it will be more of the same from what we saw against the Bears and Bengals,” said Volin. “Brady will use a lot of play action to get the middle to bite on the fake, and then just devastate them over the middle. Gronk will be open by 10 yards a lot of times.”
As for Luck, while he may be atop the league in most of the passing statistics, he is still very prone to making a mistake or two on the field.
“He doesn’t like to hold onto the football. He’s impossible to bring down and one of the best at extending plays, but he’s still young and lets it rip when he shouldn’t sometimes,” said Volin. “You take the bad with the good with Luck. He does so much good that you’re willing to put up with the fumbles and occasional interception… He’s on pace for over 5,000 yards and could break Peyton Manning’s passing record this year. He does so much good, once he learns to rein it in a little bit, he’s going to be so dangerous.”
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