INDIANAPOLIS COLTS at NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS
The New England Patriots will host the Indianapolis Colts in the AFC Championship Game this Sunday evening. Only this time the opposing quarterback for the Colts facing the Pats in the conference title game will be Andrew Luck, whose team knocked off the Denver Broncos, 24-13 last week.
When these two teams faced each other back in November (in Indianapolis) the Patriots hammered Luck and the Colts, 42-20. They also blasted the Colts in last year's playoffs, 43-22 as they intercepted Luck four times and saw running back LeGarrette Blount score four touchdowns while going for 166 yards rushing.
This past season, the Colts won the AFC South (11-5 record) and have topped the Cincinnati Bengals and the Denver Broncos in the post-season. Meanwhile, the Patriots went 12-4 to win the AFC East again and won a 35-31 thriller over the Baltimore Ravens last week in the divisional round of the playoffs.
With Tom Brady leading the offense, the Patriots put up a lot of points once again this season and Brady has a plethora of weapons to choose from when passing the ball. Tight End Rob Gronkowski is among the best in the NFL while wide receivers Brandon LaFell, Julian Edleman and Danny Amendola have been stellar.
The running game is solid with Shane Vereen, Jonas Gray, Stevan Ridley and Blount carrying the ball and the defense has been consistent this year, especially in the improved secondary that has corners Darrelle Revis and Brandon Browner, who can shut down the opposition.
The Colts can score too and Luck had another solid season while looking to wideouts T.Y Hilton, Hakeem Nicks and Reggie Wayne and tight end Coby Fleener to bolster the passing game. The running game was weak, but Boom Herron has been on the rise in recent weeks, including scoring a rushing touchdown in the win at Denver last weekend.
Expect a much tighter game than the blowout New England enjoyed in November as the Colts keep it close for three quarters before Brady and company draw away in the fourth quarter for the win and their first Super Bowl trip in three years.
PREDICTION - New England 34, Indianapolis 21