2014 NFL Playoffs: 5 Reasons Why Indianapolis Colts Will Beat New England Patriots
Indianapolis Colts Will Beat New England Patriots: 5 Reasons Why
The Indianapolis Colts travel to Foxboro, Ma. on Saturday night to face the No. 2 seed New England Patriots in the first of two AFC Divisional Games. The Colts produced a stunning comeback victory on Wild-Card weekend, toppling the Kansas City Chiefs 45-44 at Lucas Oil Stadium. The Patriots earned a first-round bye after amassing an impressive 12-4 regular season record which took them to the playoffs for the 11th time in 14 seasons under veteran head coach Bill Belichick.
The game will mark the second meeting of Colts sophomore sensation Andrew Luck and three-time Super Bowl winner Tom Brady. The pair clashed last year at Gillette Stadium during the regular season with the Patriots hanging 59 points on the young Colts team en route to a 59-24 victory. Luck threw three interceptions in the game, two of which were returned for Patriot touchdowns. Colts fans will be hoping Luck can maintain the form he found in the fourth quarter against the Chiefs last week; the first three quarters are best left forgotten.
The AFC East champions enter the contesting having won five of their last six games and captured their division title for the 10th time in eleven years. The Patriots will be looking to reach the AFC title game for a third year in a row and have their sights firmly set on a third Super Bowl appearance since 2007.
The Colts are heavy underdogs going into Saturday’s matchup, but there are 5 key reasons why they have what it takes to beat the Patriots on their home turf.
The Colts have won their last five games, and coming back from a 28-point deficit on Wild-Card weekend is sure to generate confidence. The win over the Chiefs was the first postseason win for head coach Chuck Pagano, and he will have his troops ready for battle.
4. Signing Deion Branch
You can mark it down as gamesmanship or mind games, but adding veteran wide receiver and long-time Patriot Deion Branch will give the Colts an advantage. Branch was Brady’s No. 1 target for many seasons in New England and should be able to share some insider knowledge on the Patriots' offense.
3. Big-Game Experience
The Colts have the four best regular season wins of any team in the league and are comfortable in big-game situations. Home victories over the Seattle Seahawks and Denver Broncos, combined with success on the road against the San Francisco 49ers and the Chiefs have provided valuable experience for this young team.
2. Patriot Injuries
The Patriots have been banged up all year and are missing some key players for Saturday’s game. Defensive tackle Vince Wilfork has missed most of the season along with Pro Bowl linebacker Jerod Mayo. Tight end Rob Gronkowski will miss the postseason due to an ACL injury, and Brandon Spikes was placed on IR yesterday, leaving the Patriots short at the linebacker position which is something the Colts will look to exploit with veteran running back Donald Brown.
1. They Have Andrew Luck
Luck remains the key to success for Indianapolis. He has 11 fourth quarter comebacks and eight game-winning drives in his young career and is coming off a four-touchdown, 443-yard game against the Chiefs. If he can protect the ball and prevent turnovers, the Colts will advance to the AFC title game.