Josh Alper, ProFootballTalk:
The Colts have seen their last two seasons come to an end on the wrong side of blowout losses to the Patriots in the playoffs and they also took a thumping from New England during the 2014 regular season, leaving the unshakable impression that the Colts are going to need to find a way to beat the Patriots if they ever hope to win the Super Bowl.
Quarterback Andrew Luck thinks his team has a “realistic chance” of doing that after the 2015 season, although that doesn’t mean he’s looking at the team’s Week Six game as a referendum on how realistic those chances will be. The Colts will host the Patriots that Sunday night, but Luck says it is just one of 16 games.
Since the Indianapolis Colts walked off the field at Gillette Stadium on January 17, 2015, there have been many changes. On the plus side for the Colts would be the addition of three University of Miami products during the offseason. Running back Frank Gore is over from the San Francisco 49ers and wide receiver Andre Johnson signed via free agency from the rival Houston Texans. Speedy wideout Phillip Dorsett was the team’s first-round pick.
On the negative side has been the issue of DeFlategate with the Colts being the whistleblowers to the NFL. The 2014 AFC runnerup flag to be hoisted in the RCA Dome commemorating the 45-7 thrashing by the New England Patriots in the title game did not sit well with the public. The fact that Indianapolis may have forced Patriots QB Tom Brady to the sidelines until Week Six is the biggest reason to not circle October 18 on the calendar as an important game.
One other reason to not circle the game is that the two teams are not rivals. New England leads the series, 49-29. The past four games with Andrew Luck at the helm for the Colts have all been lopsided affairs. Scores of: 45-7, 42-20, 43-22 and 59-24 have not been competitive contests.
It is smart of Andrew Luck to not listen to fans and media who will hype up certain games and circle them in red on the calendar. Oddsmakers have listed Indianapolis has 8:1 odds to win the Super Bowl—just edging the Patriots at 9:1 so Vegas believes the Colts have a realistic chance. With Tom Brady holding a clipboard for four games, the Colts could be favored to clinch home-field advantage in the AFC.
After the Roger Goodell ruling, it may be more clear if the balance of power has shifted in the AFC. If I were Andrew Luck, I wouldn't be going out and buying a red pen.
Paul Murphy is a freelance writer from New Hampshire. .
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