Patriots and Colts Square Off In Mid-Season NFL Showdown

The matchup of the NFL season is a few days away. Pats and Colts. The rivals. Sure, it’s no Red Sox-Yankees, but these two teams have a long history together, both in the regular season and in the playoffs. As of right now, they are the only two teams in the league that are still undefeated. Of course, after this game, only one will still hold a perfect record. However, the fact remains: these are the two best teams in the NFL, and when they square off, it will truly be a sight to behold. One of the most intriguing aspects of this game is the offenses. The Patriots are averaging 41.4 points per game, with 439.5 total yards, first in each of those categories after destroying the Redskins last Sunday 52-7. The Colts meanwhile, average 32 points per game, with 399 total yards, third in the league in those two categories. Clearly both teams are offensive powerhouses. Outstanding quarterbacks, Tom Brady and Peyton Manning, lead both teams. Who is better of the two is a debate in and of itself, but clearly, they are the two best at their position in the league. However, Tom Brady is achieving new levels of excellence this season with his revamped receiving core. Randy Moss, Donte’ Stallworth, and Wes Welker have rejuvenated the Pats’ passing game and make a third and long seem like an easy first down. Let me put it this way: Tom Brady has already passed his career high in touchdown passes and has yet to throw fewer than three TD’s in a game. He has 30 TD’s with only two interceptions. At this rate, he is on pace to smash Peyton Manning’s record 49 touchdown passes of only a few years ago. Meanwhile, Peyton Manning is succeeding with the same guys that he’s had for years, as receivers Marvin Harrison and Reggie Wayne are both having solid years for Indianapolis. Both teams have very good, young running backs: Laurence Maroney for the Patriots and Joesph Addai for the Colts. Both of these backs are having good years, averaging almost five yards a carry each. However, Maroney missed the last few weeks with a minor groin injury. Sammy Morris stepped in and didn’t miss a step, rushing for 384 yards on 85 carries, with three TD’s. Surprisingly, or not, depending on how intently you follow the Colts, there is not much difference between the two teams on defense. In fact, you could make the argument that the Colts’ defense has outplayed the Patriots’ defense this season. The Colts are allowing, on average, 14.6 points per game, second in the league; compare this to the 15.9 points per game allowed by the Pats, which is fifth. The Colts are also allowing fewer total yards and fewer passing yards than the Patriots this year. However, keep in mind that this is a Patriots defense that was without Rodney Harrison for the first four weeks of the season and has seen Richard Seymour suit up for his first game against the Redskins on Sunday, a game in which the Patriots allowed only seven points. Seymour’s presence alone on the defensive line boosts all of the Patriots’ defensive stats and he will definitely be 100% by the time the Colts game comes around. All in all, these two teams could not be more evenly matched. However, I think the biggest difference between the teams is in the coaching staff. Bill Belichick is the best coach in the NFL, regardless of the recent videotaping scandal. He is the smartest and most innovative coach in the league. Don’t get me wrong, Tony Dungy is a great coach and has done very good things with the Colts. But Bill Belichick is flat-out, a better coach. He will take away the strength of the Colts, Peyton Manning, like he has so many times before. Granted it’s impossible to completely take Manning out of a game, but they will do just enough to win. Whoever wins this game and remains undefeated has a legitimate chance to run the table for the rest of the season and become the immediate favorite to win the Super Bowl. It’s hard to predict who’s going to win this game, but one thing is for sure: it’s going to be one hell of a football game.