Each week during the season we’ll talk with the FanSided editor who covers the Colts’ upcoming opponent and try to get a better understanding of the enemy before us. This week, we float our Revere-ridden trojan Horse into Boston Harbor to talk New England Patriots with Jamie Pacheco of “Musket Fire.”
1) The Patriots’ defense has been derided all season long by fans and pundits. Is it really as bad as we’ve been led to believe? How can it be fixed?
"It is pretty bad, at least when it comes to the pass. They are last in the league for a reason. If Vince Young was more accurate, he could have thrown for 500+ yards instead of the ridiculous 400 he threw for Sunday. There’s no more trades that can be made so the only thing that fix it is improvement in the players the Patriots have. That includes the corners, safeties, and the pass rushers up front."
2) Which Pats players have surprised you the most (good or bad) so far this season?
"I was surprised how bad Chad Ochocinco has been this season. I thought he could be a regular contributor, though not the big play guy he was with the Bengals. So far, he hasn’t done much of anything. On the positive side, guard Brian Waters has been way more than I expected. He was released by KC and missed all of training camp, but he stepped in Week One when the Pats lost center Dan Koppen and had to reshuffle the line. He has been their best lineman to date, and that’s saying something with Logan Mankins and Matt Light on the line."
3) What key match-ups should we keep an eye on this week?
"Anyone in the secondary on Reggie Wayne. He’s been a thorn in the Pats’ side for a long time, and if Dan Orlovsky can get him the ball, he could be open often. On the other side of the ball, I’m interested to see if Dwight Freeney and the rest of the pass rush can turn it up and force Tom Brady into incomplete passes or turnovers."
4) How far do you think the Patriots can go this year?
"I think they’re pretty much a lock at this point to make the playoffs, but Super Bowl-bound they are not at this point. I need to see more from the defense to convince me that they can go all the way. Either the defense improves, or the Pats will have to win in shootouts all the way through the postseason. I mean, Vince Young threw for 400 yards. What can Ben Roethlisberger do (again), or Joe Flacco?"
5) Finally, what are your predictions for the game?
"Despite the Pats’ defensive struggles, I still think that they’ll be too much for the Peyton Manning-less Colts. Can you imagin how many yards he’d throw for against the Patriots’ current secondary? The Patriots win 31-17."