Can The Colts Afford to Lose to the Patriots This Time Around?
Let’s be honest, we’re all sick and tired of hearing about the New England Patriots and all of the “DeflateGate” talk, and it doesn’t appear to be going away anytime soon with the NFL and Tom Brady looking to be headed to federal court.
In my previous piece, I evaluated the Colt’s three most important games on the 2015 schedule, New England being a team that had made my list as a game that is a must-win for Andrew Luck and the Colts. It may go without saying that after countless beatdowns by the Patriots in the Luck-era, this week six matchup may in fact be the biggest, most important game for the Colts this season.
The thirty-eight point loss to the Patriots back in January was beyond bad. So bad that it forced owner Jim Irsay and general manager Ryan Grigson to go all out, fully engaged in “win now” mode by signing veteran offensive threats Andre Johnson and Frank Gore to three-year deals, as well as adding talent along the defensive side of the ball.
Let’s get straight to the point, though: if the Colts want to get over the bump in the road and get the much-desired home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs, they have to prove their worth and beat the New England Patriots, both in the regular season and possibly in the postseason.
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If Brady does in fact miss the first four games of the season, his first game back would be against, you guessed it, the Colts. These two teams will face off on Sunday night football in what is expected to be one of the most anticipated games of 2015.
Brady is going to be angry, he’s really going to want to stick it to the Colts more than ever this game. We’ve all seen Brady play angry, and it’s quite frightening. As much as many Colts fans dislike Brady, we cannot be blinded by our own bias to recognize him as one of the greatest quarterbacks to ever play the game. The Colts know this, and must take into consideration how much emotions will be put into this game. We can expect the same from the Colts as well. After all, they were victims to what’s shaping up to be one of the biggest scandals in the NFL over the last few years. Emotions will certainly be running wild throughout the entirety of the game.
Since Luck has been in the league, the Colts have yet to beat the Patriots, going 0-4 against Brady and Co. in both the regular season and playoffs. The Patriots have always gained their advantage by shutting down the Colt’s top offensive weapons, and by successfully moving the ball down the field. That’s where many of Indy’s offseason acquisitions come into play. With the additions of Johnson and Gore, as well as drafting receiver Phillip Dorsett, it becomes more difficult for opposing defenses to focus solely on one or two players on the offensive side of the ball.
Last year the Patriots had Darrelle Revis to shut down the Colt’s No. 1 option on offense. The year before, it was Aqib Talib. Both of those players are no longer a part of the Patriot’s roster. With Brandon Browner and Devin McCourty still a big part of the Patriots defense, we still shouldn’t take things lightly. But it is certainly a sigh of relief, especially with all of the Colt’s new weapons.
The Patriots and coach Bill Belichick have shown us time in and time out that they respond very well to adversity. It’s possible that without Brady, the Patriots could start the season 1-3, or they could start 3-1 when it becomes time for Brady to make his return. It could really go either way, especially with the unproven, unexperienced Jimmy Goroppolo under center during that four game span. But nonetheless, the Colts will have to be ready for Brady and the fight he will bring with him.
The Colts want to win championships, and they want to start winning them now. If this team wants to show that they are more than fully capable of being the top team in the AFC then they have to beat one of the best teams in the AFC, going to show that this regular season face-off with New England is a game that the Colts absolutely cannot afford to lose.
The Colts are equipped for success in 2015, and are willing to show that they have everything to make their case to represent the AFC in this year’s Super Bowl.