Fresh off of their stunning and historic comeback against the Kansas City Chiefs, the Colts travel to Foxboro on Saturday to take on the Patriots in the AFC Divisional Playoffs. While facing the Patriots in January at Gillette is a daunting task (road teams have won just three of 13 postseason games played there), the Colts have been one of the more successful road teams of 2013, posting a 5–3 mark away from Lucas Oil Stadium, making them one of three AFC teams to boast a winning road record (Denver and Kansas City were 6-2).
The Colts also had great success against better teams this season, boasting a 5-2 record against 2013 playoff participants, including impressive victories over the Broncos, 49ers and Seahawks. The Patriots were 2-2 against 2013 postseason teams, with wins over Denver and New Orleans.
Comparing the stats of the two squads you see that despite such disparate postseason experience, they're eerily similar in many ways. One category where they're diametrically opposed to each other was in average margin of losses. New England's four losses came by an average of 4.5 points, with no losses of more than one score. On the otherhand, when the Colts lost, they lost big, placing 30th among the league's 32 teams with an average margin of defeat of over three scores at 17.4 points per loss.
Bill Belichick's teams have prided themselves on not beating themselves, and that's one of the main reasons why the Pats' head man is so impressed by Chuck Pagano's team. Despite a rash of turnovers against Kansas City last weekend, the Colts turned the ball over the fewest times in the league during the regular season with 14 giveaways (10 interceptions, four lost fumbles). At the heart of Indy's ball security is former UConn star Donald Brown who has yet to lose a fumble in 649 regular season and playoff offensive touches. Indy also committed the fewest number of penalties in the league and were penalized the fewest yards, categories the Pats finished second and third in respectively.
Here's a tale of the tape between the two teams. Given these stats, you shouldn't be surprised if the game is considerably closer than the current nine-point spread the Patriots are currently favored by.
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He has also authored or made contributions to many books, including the Sports Illustrateds 100 Fenway: A Fascinating First Century.
Now living in Marblehead, hes focusing his attention on the Boston sports scene, specifically delving into the numbers affecting the Red Sox, Patriots, Celtics and Bruins, with the goal of informing and entertaining real fans. You can follow him on Twitter at @SabinoSports.