Free NFL Pick: Indianapolis at New England 11-21-2010

November 18, 2010

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Indianapolis Colts at New England Patriots

Sunday November 21st, 2010 4:15 PM EST

Line: New England -4

Overview:

The New England Patriots Vs. the Indianapolis Colts has been one of the best matchups throughout the decade. This one shouldn’t be any different, as both teams sit atop their respective divisions. The Colts have won four of their last five and the Patriots have won six of their last seven. Both teams have all the excuses in the world to fail, but both consistently find a way to win.

Keys to the Game:

  • Somebody has to be ‘the guy’ in Indy. While Reggie Wayne is obviously a talent, teams are able to double cover him, with Colts weapons dropping like flies. While I don’t necessarily see Peyton Manning struggling, it is clear he is growing frustrated. Jacob Tamme has become the check down guy in the Colts offense when he is used to having Dallas Clark as that option. The Patriots aren’t overridden with talent at defensive back, though they find a way to be just effective enough to win. They allow 277.8 yards a game through the air and are facing Peyton Manning, which is never a recipe for success.
  • BenJarvus Green-Ellis is an asset at running back. The Patriots are a passing team first and foremost, but since Randy Moss has gone, they have had to utilize other weapons, Green-Ellis being one of them. He rushed for 112 yards against the Vikings, but his most impressive performance came against Pittsburgh last week when he ran for 87 yards. The Patriots, like everyone else, can struggle in the passing game. They go up against one of the worst rushing defenses in the entire league this year, so having the option to run the ball when they need to is key for the Patriots.
  • Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis combine for 13.5 sacks this season. While veteran quarterbacks handle pressure better than inexperienced quarterbacks, that is in part because they can recognize blitzes. The Colts haven’t needed to blitz to get pressure, which makes it hard as a quarterback to go through progressions. With no elite receiver, Tom Brady will likely check the ball down to Wes Welker if he feels the heat, which isn’t exactly the worst case scenario.

Key Matchup:

Peyton Manning Vs. Tom Brady

  • Manning has won four of his last five games against Brady. While I am not a fan of giving wins and losses to quarterbacks, these two quarterbacks play such a big role in their franchise, their performance usually dictates whether their team wins or loses. This is always an epic battle and it is because of this matchup. They are both first ballot hall of famers. Manning has the record for most MVPs and Brady is a Super Bowl machine. We will look back on this one as one of the great matchups of our time, even though it is a simple regular season game that is not a must win for either team.

Wrap Up:

This game is in Foxboro. Usually, I would go with the Patriots in this situation when they are giving up only four, but I have never gone against Peyton Manning with the points and I’m not going to start to do so now. Manning always puts his team in a position to win, regardless of who their opponent is. They are down, but certainly not out. The fact that he is getting four gives me even more confidence.

Free NFL Pick: Indianapolis +4


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