AFC Divisional Playoff: Indianapolis Colts vs. New England Patriots
Location: Gillette Stadium
Time: 8:15 p.m.
TV/Radio: CBS/98.5 The Sports Hub
Watch Live Online: Click Here
Win or go home, it’s that simple for the Patriots. New England boasts much more playoff experience, an arguably more talented roster and is favored by a touchdown in this contest. Gametime conditions are also in their favor, as wind and rain is forecasted throughout the evening.
Despite all of this, here are three things the Patriots must do in order to gurantee themselves a trip to the championship round next week.
1. Dominate the line of scrimmage:
New England has morphed into a power football team in recent weeks due to numerous injuries on the offensive side of things. Their offensive line is physical, mobile and excels in moving downhill. They certainly have an advantage against a Colts defense that was exploited on the ground a week ago against Kansas City.
Their three-headed monster at the running back position poises an absolute nightmare in a game that projects to be smash-mouth more than anything else. LeGarrette Blount is the hammer and will bring the thunder. Stevan Ridley brings breakaway speed and Shane Vereen will be a difficult cover considering his versatility.
2. Make Luck resort to secondary weapons:
Andrew Luck’s secondary options are not great, but serviceable. It’s unlikely that guys like Coby Fleener, LaVon Brazil and Donald Brown can beat the Patriots defense, especially if Hilton is rendered a non-factor.
3. Go for the jugular:
If the Patriots jump out to a lead in this game, they must keep their foot on the gas and bury the Colts. Indy has shown resiliency. The last thing the Patriots want to do is give this team any sort of hope.
Pour it on early and often, put the pressure on Luck and force the Colts to overcome the elements while trailing.