FOXBOROUGH — It may feel familiar, but it’s not.
The Patriots host the Indianapolis Colts Sunday, marking the 15th time the two teams have played since 2001 when Tom Brady took over as quarterback.
The two teams have played in the playoffs three times during that span, all of which were epic battles against a Peyton Manning-led team. However, quarterback Tom Brady and the Patriots have the edge in those games, 2-1, and Brady is 9-4 all-time against the Colts.
But these Colts are under different leadership. After finishing 2-14 last year, the Colts drafted No. 1 overall pick Andrew Luck (2,631 yards, 10 touchdowns, 9 interceptions, 79.1 QB rating) and have ridden the rookie quarterback to a 6-3 record. Of the old guard still remaining, Reggie Wayne, Dwight Freeney, and Robert Mathis register on the name recognition chart, while most of the roster has seen a significant measure of turnover. Former Patriots Darius Butler and Sergio Brown are now with the Colts, along with clutch kicker Adam Vinatieri.
And as the Patriots face the Colts in Week 11, the team is going through its own set of changes. The Patriots activated new cornerback Aqib Talib, whom the team traded a fourth round draft pick for a little less than two weeks ago. It remains to be seen if Talib will have an immediate impact and whether or not he’ll be inserted into the starting lineup.
The team also waived veteran wide receiver Deion Branch, who was on his third tenure with the Patriots. In doing so, the team activated practice squad receiver Greg Salas, who spent time with offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels in St. Louis last season. The second-year pro had 27 receptions for 264 yards in his rookie year.
The Patriots are on a three-game winning streak following a 37-31 squeaker against the Buffalo Bills. The Colts are coming off a 27-10 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars and are on a four-game win streak.
Here are the details for today’s game:
Kickoff: 4:25 p.m.
Records: Patriots 6-3; Colts 6-3.
TV/Radio info: CBS (Jim Nantz, Phil Simms); 98.5-FM The Sports Hub (Gil Santos, Scott Zolak).
Projected starting lineups:
Based on information distributed to the media, practice observations, and injuries for each team.
Patriots offense: WR Wes Welker, LT Nate Solder, LG Donald Thomas, C Ryan Wendell, RG Nick McDonald, RT Sebastian Vollmer, TE Rob Gronkowski, WR Brandon Lloyd, QB Tom Brady, RB Stevan Ridley, TE Visanthe Shiancoe.
Patriots defense: NT Vince Wilfork DT Kyle Love, RDE Chandler Jones, DE Rob Ninkovich, LB Dont’a Hightower, LB Jerod Mayo, LB Brandon Spikes, CB Devin McCourty, CB Kyle Arrington, S Patrick Chung, S Steve Gregory.
Colts offense: WR Reggie Wayne, LT Anthony Castonzo, LG Joe Reitz, C Samson Satele, RG Mike McGlynn, RT Winston Justice, TE Coby Fleener, WR Donnie Avery, QB Andrew Luck, F Dwayne Allen, RB Donald Brown.
Colts defense: DE Cory Redding, NT Antonio Johnson, DT Fili Moala, SLB Robert Mathis, MLB Kavell Conner, WLB Jerrell Freeman, RUSH Dwight Freeney, LCB Cassius Vaughn, SS Tom Zbikowski, FS Antoine Bethea, RCB Darius Butler.
(more to come)
Colts: Vontae Davis (knee), Coby Fleener (shoulder).