In the early 2000’s, the Patriots and Colts had one of the most competitive rivalries in the NFL, as the two teams frequently waged battle to see who would reign over the rest of the AFC. However, the rivalry faded following the departure of Peyton Manning from Indy, and the matchup has been one-sided in favor of the Patriots in recent memory.
There are several analysts who believe that the rivalry has been reignited due to Patriots Offensive Coordinator Josh McDaniels accepting and then turning down the Colts’ head coaching job during the offseason. We’ll find out if the rivalry is truly back when the Patriots host the Colts (1-3) tomorrow night on Thursday Night Football!
Here are some things to consider entering this Week 5 contest.
1. Will Jules’ return be the catalyst the Patriots’ offense needs?
The Patriots’ offense has had an up-and-down start to the 2018-19 season, as they were brilliant in Weeks 1 & 4, but were absolutely inept during Weeks 2 & 3. All things considered, I truly believe that Week 4 against the Dolphins was a step in the right direction for the Patriots, as they were able to establish a consistent running game, and also got solid contributions from their wide receivers (including new addition Josh Gordon).
This week may be even better for the Pats, as they welcome back Julian Edelman, who was serving a 4-game suspension due to the use of performance enhancing drugs. Ironically enough, the last time the Patriots had Edelman in action for a meaningful game was during their historic comeback against the Falcons in Super Bowl LI. Most analysts believe that Edelman’s return to the lineup will help relieve pressure off of Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski. This will definitely be the case, as Edelman has the skillset required to shake off opposing cornerbacks and get open across the middle of the field. #11 will definitely draw attention from the defense, which will be useful for Gronk and can help to make life easier for the Patriots’ other receivers. Throw Josh Gordon into the mix, and it’s hard not to be excited!
2. Stopping Captain Luck and his army!
For those who don’t understand why I’m calling Andrew Luck ‘captain’, allow me to enlighten you. For the past 3 years, there has been a Twitter account known as @CaptAndrewLuck, which imagines Luck as a Civil War general (due to his infamous neckbeard). The account usually tweets about Luck and the Colts’ matchups against other teams, using terms usually associated with battles (in the form of a letter to his mother). Check out his tweet about the Patriots from Monday.
Getting back to the game, Luck has been impressive in his return from injury, as he has done his best to lead the Colts to victory, even though he has been let down by his offensive line and coaching staff. Luckily enough for the Patriots, Luck will be playing without his top target in T.Y. Hilton who got injured during the Colts’ Week 4 loss to the Texans.
Both teams will likely be using tape from the Patriots’ loss to Philadelphia in Super Bowl LII, as Indy’s current coach, Frank Reich was the Eagles’ offensive coordinator at the time. Reich crafted a brilliant game plan that absolutely dissected the Patriots’ defense, and enabled the Eagles to earn their first Lombardi Trophy. Hopefully, Bill Belichick & Co. will be ready this time around to face a Reich-coached offense.
3. Injury Report
- Rob Gronkowski (ankle) – Questionable
- Jacob Hollister (chest) – Questionable
- Josh Gordon (hamstring) – Questionable
- Eric Rowe (groin) – Questionable
- Elandon Roberts (calf) – Questionable
- Geneo Grissom (ankle) – Questionable
- Adam Butler (knee) – Questionable
- Danny Shelton (elbow) – Questionable
- T.Y. Hilton (chest/hamstring) – Out
- Jack Doyle (hip) – Out
- Marlon Mack (hamstring) – Out
- Kenny Moore (concussion) – Out
- Quincy Wilson (concussion) – Out
- Hassan Ridgeway (calf) – Out
Bonus: Color Rush is back!
The Patriots will don their absolutely gorgeous Color Rush uniforms against Indy. Shouldn’t they just switch to these full time?
Prediction: Patriots 35, Colts 17
Here are my predictions for the rest of the NFL’s Week 5 contests.
Last week: 10-4
Titans at Bills: Titans
Falcons at Steelers: Falcons
Broncos at Jets: Broncos
Jaguars at Chiefs: Chiefs
Packers at Lions: Packers
Ravens at Browns: Ravens
Giants at Panthers: Panthers
Dolphins at Bengals: Bengals
Raiders at Chargers: Chargers
Cardinals at 49ers: Cardinals
Vikings at Eagles: Vikings
Rams at Seahawks: Rams
Cowboys at Texans: Cowboys
Redskins at Saints: Saints