Why Indianapolis Colts Are Best Divisional Round Opponent for New England Patriots

By Dan Charest
David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

What would hurt the Indianapolis Colts in a divisional round matchup against the New England Patriots is that not one facet of the Colts’ game stands out. On paper, their offense is as average as they come, ranking 17th in the NFL in passing yards/game (232.8) and 20th in rushing yards/game (108.9). Those offensive figures equate to 15th overall in the league, and Indianapolis’ defense is just as mediocre, clocking in at 13th in defensive passing yards/game (231.9) and 26th in rushing yards/game allowed (125.9). Versus Indianapolis, the Patriots offense would control the game plan, either working the run game or the air attack that both rank in the top ten against Indianapolis’ feebly defense.

With such middling units on both sides of the ball, it makes you wonder how the Colts finished the year at 11-5. Then again, the Colts did benefit from sweeping the table in the NFL’s weakest division, where its other three franchises combined for the same amount of wins as the Denver Broncos. Despite the mediocrity by looking at the statistics, Andrew Luck has led the Colts to more impressive wins than any other team in the league.

Indianapolis won 27-7 at the San Francisco 49ers, 34-28 against the Seattle Seahawks, 39-33 versus the previously unbeaten Broncos and 23-7 at one of the league’s toughest venues in Arrowhead Stadium. The Kansas City Chiefs will be Indianapolis’ opponent once again this weekend, where the hosts will be 1.5 favorites and very likely be the next opponent for the Patriots.

The 2013 New England Patriots know a lot about injuries, with all-Pros Vince WilforkJerod Mayo and Rob Gronkowski out for the season. But this year’s edition of the Colts has taken the injury report to the next level. Knee problems have sent 2012 rushing and receiving leaders Vick Ballard and Reggie Wayne to the IR and Ahmad Bradshaw has been on the Injured Reserve since September. All in all, 16 Colts are on the IR and 11 more are on the injury report for their upcoming wild card game. For the Colts to win in New England, against an offense that is as balanced as any, they would need a full stable of weapons, not one with almost 30 players on the training tables.

Dan Charest is a Patriots writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @DannyACharest or add him to your network on Google.

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