Colts at Pats: Fatality in Foxborough

Posted: December 3, 2011 by ndbohlen in NFL, Patriots, Prediction
Tags: , , , , , ,

Mike: Before we get into a preview of this week’s match-up, I think we ought to take a quick look into the not-so-distant past…

The date is April 20th, 2011. On college campuses and in Amsterdam, marijuana is being burned and consumed at an alarming rate. People of every age, creed, color, and sex are sparking lighters and passing bongs in celebration of what? 4/20, the International Marijuana Celebration Day? Hell no! Today, April 20th, the NFL releases the 2011 pre-season and regular season schedules, despite the ongoing labor dispute! Oh baby! Look at this whopper at the end of the Pats schedule: the Pats play the Jets in Week 10 and get slammed two weeks later with the Eagles and Colts back-to-back! What a slate of games! We’ll separate the wheat from the chaff after that four-week stint.

Fast-forward the tape a bit. The Jets get their asses served to them and ask for seconds. The Eagles lose their starting quarterback so that any hope or dignity spared for that blessed yet ill-fated team is torn asunder and thrown to the dogs as chew toys. Then the Colts manage to lose every game on their schedule because, lo and behold, we were wrong to speak of the Colts as a team. They are more like a band “Manning and the Colt-errifics!”; without Manning, they’re the “Colts… err…. fuck!”

Instead of pitting four teams with bright hopes for 2011 against each other, the NFL gave the Patriots a few weeks off to tour the dismal aftermath of two seasons gone horribly wrong and one teetering on the edge of oblivion.

Nick: I couldn’t be happier with how these four weeks of the schedule turned out. An overmatched Jets team, a Chiefs so decimated their nickname finally made sense, the “We can’t even be competitive with the Seahawks” Eagles, and now the only Colt in history who can’t manage to walk after being born.

What a creampuff.

Mike: Now the Patriots are in a fight for AFC supremacy that would give them home-field advantage throughout the post-season. Considering that the other team at the front of the pack, the Steelers, handed the Patriots a big loss at Heinz Field, playing at home might tilt the scales just enough in the Patriots’ favor. So with the AFC’s best record on the line, and the Colts playing in a manner convincing enough to say they didn’t just lay down arms, but not so convincing that they actually win a game and screw up their draft pick, this game seems like another lock for the Patriots. 

Even the road-phobic Panthers were able to take the Colts down to the glue factory and dominate in Indianapolis last week. By the way, the Panthers had not won on the road since 2009.

But here’s something interesting to watch for this week’s match-up: Curtis Painter has thrown interception galore, but he also completed a 52-yard TD pass to Reggie Wayne in the 4th quarter. Going up against the Patriots’ secondary, which has performed well and defeated the struggling offenses of Kansas City and Philadelphia, Painter might have a chance to prove his nickname wrong. However, if the Curtis Painter gives up 1 INT in this game, I will guarantee a Patriots victory.

Nick: Sadly, the Patriots don’t get the privilege of painting the field with Curtis Painter. Maybe last week’s long completion to Reggie Wayne was too close to something like “progress” for the offense, so they decided to switch to Dan Orlovsky, who hasn’t been working with the first team offense all year and now suddenly has one week to prepare for keeping up with New England’s offensive juggernaut.

Mind you, this is the same guy who was tripping over himself to run out of the back of the end zone for a safety rather than have someone ring his bell for an actual sack. Orlovsky also just happened to be quarterback for the Lions when they were the first team ever to go winless in an NFL season. He probably was thinking, “Well, at least it’s not my fault this time,” and then Caldwell goes ahead and throws him in there as the starter for the last five games and a double date with infamy and shame. Bummer, dude.

Mike: I almost feel bad for him. Wait, that’s not true at all. I love basking in other people’s misery. Why else do I religiously read Grantland’s Bad Quarterback League Scorecard every Tuesday?

When it comes to the Patriots’ strategy in Week 13, they might scratch their heads at this stat-line: Cam Newton completed 20 of his 27 pass attempts, racked up 208 yards, and had a passer rating of 95.9. Yet he didn’t have a single passing TD. He ran one in himself and handed the ball off to DeAngelo Williams twice. Might the Patriots see this pattern and try to use more of a running attack when they come into red zone territory and reserve the passes for the first 80 yards of the march?

Nick: I don’t think they’ll rely on the run in the red zone. The Panthers are a much more vertical passing team, heavily reliant on Steve Smith going deep. The Pats have a ton of weapons in the passing game to use in the red zone – Wes Welker, Rob Gronkowski, Aaron Hernandez, even Deion Branch (but not Ochocinco). And unless we’re at the 1-inch line, we don’t rely on the running back corps to pound the ball in there.

I expect the Patriots to do their best to drive the Colts to commit seppuku in the locker room at halftime by scoring early and often. Then they’ll come out in the second half and continue to run up the score, with no regard for the recently deceased Colts’ 53-man roster or the fact that there are – kind of like Achilles dragging Hector through the dirt and mutilating his body to wander Hades blind, deaf, and dumb so everyone knows, “There go the Colts, the fools who tried to step onto the same field as Tom Brady and the Patriots.”*

(*Without Peyton Manning)

Mike: I would try to one-up your awesomely geeky Iliad reference, but I don’t think that’s possible… and if it is, I’m going to save it for next week.

Nick: Thank you?

I do see the Patriots running the ball to slow down the two-headed pass rush of Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis. A little success in the running game will force them to respect the run and keep those two from pinning their ears back and going after Brady. But like last week’s game against the Eagles, the Pats will shift back to the pass pretty quickly, running their play-action and having their way with the hapless Indy defense. From all the past grudge matches with Manning, I think Belichick and Brady are going to kick the Colts while they’re down (Ndamukong Suh-style) and do their best to make the Saints’ 62-7 drubbing look like an act of mercy.

Mike: I don’t think that’s happening. First of all, the Saints have now destroyed two teams: the free-falling Colts and the once awe-inspiring Giants. The Pats are yet to take a team to the slaughterhouse quite like that… mostly because the Pats are in the “unfortunate” situation of having Gronkowski and Welker, whereas the Saints have used modern medical science to fuse those two individuals into one omnipotent being named Jimmy Graham. You see, Brady still has to chose. That’s a fatal flaw in the offensive scheme. Brees merely has to find #80 in a Saints uniform and throw the ball in that direction. Much simpler.

Nick: Oh please. Give me a break. I know this isn’t the 2007 Regular Season Patriots (the way I remember it, the playoffs were canceled that year due to the much-overlooked strike). That said, this team can put up points and put up points in a hurry. The Pats don’t ever run the ball, Brady and Welker have already connected on a 99-yard touchdown this year, and everyone in New England hates the Colts. Get your facetious, oversimplistic analysis out of here. No human being can be more powerful than Gronk. The man nails pornstars, hauls in touchdown passes by the dozen, and cures concussions with a shake of his head. Daily. Best tight end this side of Gisele. End of discussion.

On the other side of the ball, I can’t even see the Patriots porous defense screwing this one up. Okay, I can see it happening, but it’s highly unlikely. If the Pats can hold the Eagles to 20 (13 really, minus the garbage touchdown against the prevent), the Colts shouldn’t be too difficult a task for them to handle. Can you envision any way Orlovsky and the Colts offense manages to even keep this game close?

Mike: Nick, if I thought there was a single way in which the Colts could keep them game even slightly competitive, then I would have been one of the fools who said, “No, they’re not going 0-16.” Fortunately, I was adamant about them going 0-16 back in Week 6.

Orlovsky is the back-up to the back-up, Curtis Painter, of the replacement, Kerry Collins, of the starter, Peyton Manning. Unless Steven Spielberg is on the sidelines filming this one, I don’t see Orlovsky getting a Hollywood finish to this game. Although, I’m sure Keanu Reeves will be watching with baited breath to see if there is a Replacements sequel in the works. (Only in real life, there isn’t a single Colts cheerleader that would fuck Orlovsky.)

Nick: Leave it to Hollywood and Tom Brady to over-glamorize the quarterback position with hot women hanging off your body instead of sweat.

Mike: The Pats also have the playoffs in sight. If they reach eleven wins, they clinch the AFC East, which means they’ll have an opportunity to rest some starters and keep everyone healthy through the final weeks of the regular season. I’m sure Belichick is well aware of this, so I presume his game plan will follow these steps: Step 1 — Knock down the Colts, Step 2 — Make them bite the curb, Step 3 — Stomp down hard.

Nick: I’ll be honest. I don’t want the playoffs to arrive. I’m too scared the Patriots are going to shatter my poor little heart for the umpteenth time in a row, and after the Red Sox collapse, I don’t know if I can take it. I’m fragile.

Mike: Awww, po’ baby! You gonna cwy like Chwis Bosh?

I think I have an idea for a side-bet this weekend: over-under on how many cut-aways there are to Manning giving the patented “Manning Face.” Replays of “Manning Faces” don’t count. They need to be live… as live as when Nick Novak was on screen for a good 30 seconds pissing into the Gatorade. (I’m proud to say the Jets cut that loser with a weak bladder.)

Brady, get your UGGs ready for post-win coitus. Final Score: Pats 38, Colts 7.

Nick: Luckily, I don’t have any heartbreak concerns this week. I just get to sit back, relax, and enjoy counting how many times they show Peyton making the Manning face (I place the over/under at 9.5, and I’m taking the over – easy money) while the Pats hand out a good ol’-fashioned beatdown straight out of Mortal Kombat. Finish himFinal score: Pats 48, Colts 3

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