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Patriots vs. Colts: 3 keys to the game, fun facts, prediction

Ryan Hannable
October 04, 2018 - 8:15 am

After Josh McDaniels decided against taking the Colts' head-coaching job at the last second this offseason, there seemed to be some indication the rivalry between the Patriots and Colts had heated up, especially when GM Chris Ballard declared “the rivalry back on.”

But, here we are going into Week 5 and there aren’t any indications of this being a rivalry game.

Indianapolis will come limping into Foxboro already declaring seven players out following a tough overtime loss to the Texans Sunday, which dropped their record to 1-3. New England on the other hand, is coming off its best game of the season, a 38-7 win over the Dolphins to improve to 2-2 on the year.

The Patriots will also get Julian Edelman back, which should drastically improve the offense. It's also been reported Rob Gronkowski (ankle) will be active as well.

Colts vs. Patriots
Thursday, October 4, 2018
8:20 p.m., FOX/NFL Network
Patriots -10, over/under 51

3 keys to the game

Get passing game going

For the first time in a long time, Tom Brady will have all his key playmakers — Gronkowski, Edelman and James White — on the field in the same game. Edelman will play in his first meaningful game since Super Bowl LI, but he likely will not be a full-go given how much time he’s had down. Expect roughly 50-60 percent of the snaps, but those snaps will be interesting. It will be the first chance to see how the offense looks with him added into the mix. Another element is Josh Gordon, as his workload could increase after seeing his first action last Sunday. While it won’t be at 100 percent full strength, it will be worth watching how having Edelman back and Gordon having experience impacts the overall offense.

Continue success against Andrew Luck

The Colts certainly haven’t gone easy with Andrew Luck this season as he’s passed the ball a ton. The Colts rank 30th in rushing attempts and 29th in rushing yards, so it’s clear they are relying heavily on the passing game. Luck has struggled in his career against the Patriots. In five starts against them, including the playoffs, he’s completed just 52.6 percent of his passes with 10 interceptions, nine touchdowns, and a 67.9 passer rating. His job will be even more difficult since he will be without his top target in T.Y. Hilton and also tight end Jack Doyle, who have already been ruled out. One thing that needs to be mentioned is Colts head coach Frank Reich was the Eagles’ offensive coordinator last year so he knows how to beat the Patriots defense, but the Colts don’t exactly have the same talent the Eagles did.

Build on Sunday’s performance

Sunday’s win against the Dolphins was easily the Patriots’ best performance of the season, but it won’t mean anything unless they can build on it Thursday. Defensively, the front-seven was outstanding as it limited Miami to just 56 yards on the ground, but this week it will be the secondary tested the most considering the Colts throw a lot more than they run. On offense, yes it scored 38 points, but Brady still didn’t look his best with a few poor decisions, including two interceptions. Getting Edelman back should help him feel more comfortable in the pocket.

Fun facts

1. Home teams are a perfect 4-0 on Thursday Night Football this season.

2. The Patriots have beaten the Colts in seven straight meetings, including the playoffs, and have won those games by an average of 19.4 points.

3. Since 2014, the Patriots are 16-2 in October.

4. The Patriots have played 31 straight games without having Brady, Gronkowski, Edelman and White on the field at the same time.

5. Brady is 10-1 as a starter in Thursday games and has thrown 24 touchdowns to just two interceptions in those games.


Patriots 27, Colts 10

We like the Patriots to win comfortably. The Colts are really at a disadvantage with all their injuries and the Thursday games always give an edge to the home team by not having to travel. This has the potential to get out of hand early and if that is the case Gronkowski may be removed from the game early to get him some extra rest prior to the Chiefs matchup in 10 days.

Related: Julian Edelman reportedly worked out at Celtics' facility