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Five keys: Colts at Patriots

Posted by Greg A. Bedard  December 4, 2011 08:00 AM

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FOXBOROUGH – The Patriots face the 0-11 Colts today at Gillette Stadium to try to improve to 9-3. The Patriots are heavy favorites in this game. Here are five keys for another easy victory:

  1. Block the DEs: Colts DEs Dwight Freeney are two of the best pass rushers in the game. When you play an underdog, you need to get on top early offensively and kill any notions of an upset. To do that, the Patriots need to give QB Tom Brady time to do his thing. The Colts are so weak at DT (besides Tyler Brayton who rushes inside in subpackages and should be a good challenge for a scuffling Logan Mankins) that they should just double Freeney and Mathis from the start and be done with it.
  2. Get after Dan Orlovsky: The Colts have a new quarterback in this game, and if given time and a sudden case of accuracy, this Colts passing game can move the ball. To keep from the secondary being exposed, the Patriots need to speed up Orlovsky. The Colts’ offensive line, as a whole, is decent. But the rookie LT Anthony Castonzo (Boston College) and RT Jeff Linkenbach have their struggles. This is a game for Andre Carter and Mark Anderson to do some work.
  3. Pound the ball early and late: One way to slow the pass rush is to make the ends defend the run. Plus, the Colts are weak at DT and LB. And of course, if you get up in the game, don’t make Brady face any hits he doesn’t have to. The Patriots have 15 running backs. They should get them some work.
  4. Make Brady throw to other people: If the Patriots get up, that’s the time to run but when they do pass, Brady should try to get some work in with Chad Ochocinco, Tiquan Underwood and Julian Edelman. We all know he can throw to Wes Welker, Rob Gronkowski, Deion Branch and Aaron Hernandez. The Patriots will need those other guys at some point. We think.
  5. Keep executing on defense: The Patriots have made progress on defense because they’ve been more assignment sound and tackled better. They need to keep improving in those areas.

THE PICK

Peyton Manning might not be there, but the Patriots still see the blue horseshoe on the helmet. They’re conditioned to take it to them. We think Bill Belichick would like nothing better than to kick Bill Polian when he’s down.

Patriots 42, Colts 10

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