Re: Saturday forecast calls for heavy rain.
posted at 1/10/2014 6:02 PM EST
Luck isn't Peyton Manning. He has as stronger arm, and is a completely different QB. I don't think the weather hurts him the way people assume it will. This is a different Colts team.
That said ... rain does help New England if it reduces both passing games. New England does have a better power running attack than Indianapolis. Merely playing in "the rain" is different than playing in "heavy rain," which is the forecast. Heavy, cold rain dramatically reduces the ability to pass and even to kick the ball. Because you need to inflate the football with more air, AND because it gets soggy, it really doesn't make for good passing conditions at all. That doesn't even factor in visibility, footing, etcetera.
These are the slop fests that New England has been involved in the past few seasons. They tend to win them though.
New England's power running back, Legarette Blount, had an outstanding season, especially the second half. Once he hit his stride, he really cruised in the bad weather. He had an excellent 507yards, 6 TDs, and a nifty 5.8 ypc down the final eight game stretch. Trent Richardson, who figures to be crucial if conditions are so sloppy as to reduce footing, had a poor season, finishing with 2.9 YPC, and an anemic 2.8 ypc in the final 8 games.
If New England is gaining twice as many yards per carry tomorrow than Indy, and neither team is presenting a reliable downfield attack, it will get ugly for the Colts.
In incredibly short yardage, Indianapolis was slightly better than New England, converting 65% of tries on third/fourth and short, while New England converted 59%. Both are middle of the pack with those rankings as the best teams, like Minnesota, Green Bay, and Washington, convert over 75% of the time in short yardage.
Neither team had a very effective rush defense, though the impression around New England is that Siliga improved it somewhat.
But rushing overall has been an issue for Indianpolis, which cast a little doubt about how well equipped they will be to cope with extreme heavy rain. New England ranked 9th overall in rushing yards, and Indianapolis was a more modest 20th.
Given the overall upward trend of Blount and New England's running game in general, if both teams are forced to run because of the elements, I'd say advantage New England. And it won't have anything to do with Luck.