Just a week ago, we predicted that the Denver Broncos would beat the Indianapolis Colts and go on to play the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship Game. We were wrong. The Indianapolis Colts beat the odds as well as the Broncos in their 24-13 win. So, should we reconsider this team as a contender, or was this just a great game for them?
The main reason the Colts were able to beat the Broncos was that they held them to just 13 points. Defense wins games. One thing the Colts did right in this game was applying pressure on third downs. The Broncos converted on just 4 of 16 third downs, which is something that the Colts need to replicate against Tom Brady and the Patriots.
The Colts also got a couple sacks against Peyton Manning, so look to see if they can frustrate Tom Brady in this matchup. Keep in mind that when the Colts played against Manning and the Broncos, Manning was suffering from a quad injury, and had not been playing as well as usual towards the end of the season. In this game, the Colts played phenomenal defense, and good offense. To beat the Patriots, they are going to need both phenomenal defense and offense in order to compete.
Now let’s talk Patriots. Not only are the New England Patriots extremely talented and successful, but in their last game against the Baltimore Ravens, they also proved that they are resilient. The game opened up with the Patriots trailing by a couple touchdowns, and once again the Pats found themselves behind by 14 in the third quarter. The Patriots ended up pulling off the come-from-behind victory against the Ravens. In the unlikely case that the Colts get off to an early lead, they need to be vigilant in protecting that lead, because obviously this New England team doesn’t give up.
Lately, New England has been scoring in the range of 40 points per game despite playing some of those games against elite defensive teams. Their offense seems unstoppable lately, and with a healthy quarterback, this team will be a nightmare for the Indianapolis Colts to defend. When these two teams played in the regular season, the Patriots dominated with a score of 42-20, and Tom Brady didn’t even play well.
New England’s offense is too versatile for the Colts to have any weaknesses in their defense. The Colts need to defend the running and passing game extremely well to have a chance at this one, and that’s not even mentioning that they need to be able to put up points on the other end of the field. Look for New England's offense to overwhelm the Colts and put up big numbers in this game.
Prediction: New England wins 37-24.