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Foote Notes: Indianapolis at New England
The Colts and Patriots will resume their rivalry when the teams collide in Foxboro for arguably the best Monday night football game of the season. Indianapolis is considered a 4-point road favorite and the total hovers around 48.5.
The White Ponies come into this game galloping as the only perfect team in the NFL with a 7-0 (SU) and 5-2 (ATS) record for the season. That includes a flawless 4-0 (SU and ATS) road mark.
Peyton Manning, who leads the NFL’s ninth-ranked offense, is having a relatively quiet year compared to his record-breaking campaign in 2004. But Manning probably won’t complain, because this team is as well-rounded as there is in the NFL. .
Not only does Indy claim the fourth ranked ground game in the NFL, but for the first time in Manning’s career, he has a solid defense to fall back on. The Colts’ stopping unit is currently 4th in the NFL in total defense, as well as 6th against the pass and 13th against the run.
If there’s one knock on this Indianapolis team, it should be the strength of the schedule so far. Indy’s seven opponents include Houston (1-7), St. Louis (4-4), San Francisco (2-6), Tennessee (2-7), Cleveland (3-5), Jacksonville (5-3 ) and Baltimore. (2-6). The collective record for these teams is 19-38 (SU) this season.
The Colts’ narrow 10-3 home win over the Jags was the only game they played against an opponent with a winning record this year. And even though the Patriots struggled, the defending Super Bowl champions present Indy with their toughest test of the season.
The Patriots are 4-3 (SU) and 3-4 (ATS) overall, including 2-1 (SU) and 1-2 (ATS) at home. Unlike their AFC counterpart tonight, the Pats faced a difficult and difficult schedule.
New England’s six opponents are Buffalo (3-5), Denver (6-2), Atlanta (6-2), San Diego (5-4), Pittsburgh (6-2), Carolina (6-2 ) and Oakland (3-5). These teams’ collective record is 35-23 (SU) this season, while four of the seven are playoff teams from last year. Nevertheless, New England has notable shortcomings.
The Patriots have already lost more games than all of last season, mostly due to shoddy defense. Belichick’s heralded stopping unit has allowed 180 points this season and resides 29th overall in the NFL. The retirement of linebacker Ted Johnson, along with the release of Ty Law and an injury-decimated secondary left the Pats dangerously thin.
The result is that New England focused on offense. Tom Brady is averaging 279 yards per game, which is 2nd best in the NFL. The Pats are also 4th in the NFL in total yards per game and were “notoriously sharp” against the number at Gillette Stadium.
New England, in fact, is now 17-4 (ATS) in its last twenty-one home games, including 7-2 (ATS) in the rare home underdog role. The story of the series is even more important. Manning, the accomplished movie theater student, was bewildered and confused by Belichick’s defensive magic.
The Colts are 1-6 (SU) and 0-6-1 (ATS) against New England with Belichick and Manning never winning a game at Gillette Stadium. Also note that Belichick has been the head coach and/or defensive coordinator (Patriots and Jets) against Manning eleven times and is 9-1-1 (ATS) against him. The simple reason is that Bill Belichick is a master of neutralizing good quarterbacks, Manning not resisting.
Good luck tonight!
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