Of the four divisional games, this is the only one that's not a rematch from the regular season.
Indianapolis is coming off a historic comeback victory over Kansas City that was both exhilarating and emotionally draining. There's no respite Saturday night for the
The Colts have had a tendency to fall behind early in games — as they did in the wild-card round, when they found themselves in a 28-point hole — and a repeat performance likely would be fatal against
Although he hasn't won a
Luck said Brady "has set the standard for success at the quarterback position," and that's hard to argue, considering the Patriots star has led his team to victory 41 times in games New England trailed or was tied in the fourth quarter.
However, Luck is cut from the same championship cloth. He has 11 such victories, the most by a quarterback in his first two seasons since the AFL-NFL merger in 1970.
Both teams know how to win close games, with New England going 8-4 in games decided by seven or fewer, and the Colts going 6-1 when the margin is less than a touchdown.
Coach of the year?
This has been one of
Not only did the Patriots begin the season without their top five pass catchers from 2012 — among them
"Even the Bill Belichick haters in the media have given up," said CBS analyst Phil Simms. "Why would you bet against the Patriots? How much more information do we have to know?"
Astoundingly, this the 25th Colts-Patriots game for Indianapolis kicker
"It really never gets old," he told reporters this week. "Two great organizations, great coaches, great players, obviously. It's the Sox-Yankees, if you will. That kind of thing where I think both teams respect each other and know what comes to the table."
Vinatieri is New England's all-time scoring leader with 1,158 points, but has scored 37 points in his career against the Patriots.
By the numbers
How teams compare statistically. All stats are per-game averages, except for sacks and turnover differential, which is for the season (league rank in parentheses):
Category | IND | NE
Points scored: 24.4 (14) | 27.8 (3)
Points allowed: 21.0 (9) | 21.1 (10)
Pass offense: 232.8 (17) | 255.4 (10)
Rush offense: 108.9 (20) | 129.1 (9)
Pass defense: 231.9 (13) | 239.0 (18)
Rush defense: 125.1 (26) | 134.1 (30)
Sacks: 42 (11) | 48 (5)
Penalty yards: 36.0 (1) | 39.1 (3)
Turnovers: +13 (3) | +9 (8)