Patriots-Colts might have to be a Carson Wentz showcase

Indianapolis Colts quarterback Carson Wentz (2) drops back to pass the ball against the Houston Texans. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports
Indianapolis Colts quarterback Carson Wentz (2) drops back to pass the ball against the Houston Texans. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports /

The Indianapolis Colts’ huge game against the New England Patriots may come down to the play of Carson Wentz.

On Saturday night, the Indianapolis Colts will play the New England Patriots in a rivalry game with plenty of playoff implications. Both teams have been experiencing recent success and are coming off of Week 14 byes.

While bye weeks are generally used for rest, coaches like to take advantage of the off-time to get in extra preparation for the coming opponents. With a game of this magnitude, it’s fair to assume that both the staff for Indy and New England did that.

For the Patriots, the thing they were likely preparing for the most is the Colts run game. All season, Jonathan Taylor and the offensive line have dominated on the ground, rushing for 151.7 yards a game, good for second-most in the NFL.

Taylor and the run game have been the engine of the offense. That’s the reason Indy is the third-ranked scoring offense averaging 28.5 points a game and also why Taylor’s name is in MVP conversations.

On Saturday, Taylor will play his first career game against Bill Belichick and the Patriots. Something New England defenses have become popular for under Belichick is taking away the opposing team’s strengths.

Belichick and his defensive staff usually come up with the perfect scheme to challenge offenses and the Patriots players often go out and execute. If that is the case Saturday, that means Taylor will be limited and Indy will have to win on the arm of Carson Wentz.

Carson Wentz may need a big game against Patriots

As Colts fans have made clear all season, they would prefer for Indy to just “Run The Damn Ball”, and if that is a successful option on Saturday, Indianapolis should certainly stick with it. But if the team is having trouble getting the run game going, they’ll have to turn to Wentz.

Based on the previous 13 games, Wentz appears as if he’s ready to answer the call in a big game like this one. He has drastically improved from the quarterback that played himself out of Philadelphia last season and is playing the best football he has since his 2017 season when he was an MVP candidate.

So far this year, Wentz is completing 63.3% of his passes for 2,948 yards, 22 touchdowns, and just five interceptions. He’s also had a game where he was leaned on more than the rushing attack, and despite losing, his response was promising.

In Week 12 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the Bucs’ stingy run defense was determined to slow down Taylor early in the game. This led to Wentz having a huge day through the air with a lot of RPOs.

Wentz finished the game completing 27-of-44 passes for 306 yards and three touchdowns. If it wasn’t for a strip-sack and an untimely interception, this would have been Wentz’s best game of the season and Indianapolis would likely have won.

Wentz will have the chance to redeem himself but against a much better defense. New England has the No. 1 scoring defense, giving up just 15.4 points a game and the third-best passing defense, allowing only 195.5 passing yards a game.

That means it will be a challenge if the game comes down to whether or not the Colts can pass the ball, but challenging moments are where stars prove themselves. Wentz may have the opportunity to prove that he can lead this team on a playoff run if necessary.