Patriots Colts Sunday Night Preview
ODDSMAKERS AREN'T EXPECTING THRILLING REMATCH OF AFC TITLE TILT WHEN PATS VISIT COLTS ON NBC
Sunday Night's TV game on NBC was supposed to be a long anticipated rematch of last year's "deflate-gate" saga in the AFC Championship game. The defending AFC and World Champion New England Patriots would have to visit the young and fired up Indianapolis Colts. Surely Indy fans (and many others around the league) were hoping it might be a "changing of the guard" landmark where Andrew Luck slid past Tom Brady in terms of dominating current day NFL.
*New England is still playing great, and a clear AFC favorite
*Indianapolis started to implode from off-the-field issues
*Andrew Luck got hurt!
*New England is a whopping 9-point ROAD favorite Sunday night
The betting markets are telling you that New England would be about -12 on a neutral field over the shorthanded Colts...or -15 in Foxboro. Indianapolis with Matt Hasselbeck at quarterback are being priced like they're Jacksonville.
Some rematch...nobody's anticipating much of anything!
Indianapolis does have extra preparation time coming off a Thursday nighter. And, they did win that matchup with Houston. Can the Colts rise up and score the upset? Will New England finally take a game too lightly and find themselves in a dogfight? Let's see what JIM HURLEY'S key indicator stats have to say about Pats/Colts...
Won-Lost Records (Strength of Schedule)
New England: 4-0 (#16 ranked schedule according to Sagarin)
Indianapolis: 3-2 (#28 ranked schedule according to Sagarin)
Odd for a 3-2 team to be priced like they're Jacksonville. But...the wins have come in nailbiters vs. Tennessee, Jacksonville, and Houston...three of the worst teams in the NFL so far. You can see that Jeff Sagarin of USA Today has no respect for their schedule. The Patriots are undefeated against a league average slate...confirming their powerhouse status. This is more like a 4-0 team facing a 1-4 team all things considered.
New England: 6.4 on offense, 5.4 on defense
Indianapolis: 5.3 on offense, 5.9 on defense
You start with massive differentials in YPP differential...and THEN you have to adjust for schedule strength! Indianapolis might be as bad as -0.9 or -1.0 against a league average schedule. Facing the best team in the AFC and possibly best in the NFL (along with Green Bay), this is likely to be a categorical mismatch. Most importantly for predicting the game, Indy's defense is having trouble stopping bad offenses. They'll be in huge trouble vs. Brady unless the Pats just come in flat as a pancake.
New England: +5
And it just got worse! The Colts have the second worst turnover differential in the NFL (Houston is -8) because Luck tends to force things under pressure...and because the defense doesn't do a good job of taking the ball away (just one per game so far). For now, it looks like Luck won't be playing...which means a conservative gameplan for the Colts. Will they get the breaks needed in this category to hang close?
New England: 3-1 ATS
Indianapolis: 1-4 ATS
This better represents the form of the teams so far than straight up won-lost records. The Patriots are beating expectations even though everyone knew they'd be very good. Indianapolis is nowhere near expectations...though they finally covered last week in Houston. The market does seem to be catching up to reality with the posted line...
Current Line: New England by 9, total of 54
As we said at the top...that's a huge number for a road favorite. New England was laying something similar in Dallas last week, and coasted to a 30-6 laugher even though ESPN's "analytics" said Brady was having a bad game. If he has a good game this week...the Colts don't have much chance to compete.
That lays it out very clearly. If New England is focused, they can name the score. This will be a replay of the blowouts over Dallas and Jacksonville. If the Patriots lose a step because of overconfidence or poor preparation, Indianapolis has a chance to stay within striking distance. You're handicapping New England's "mindset" here because the talent and performance differences are so stark.
JIM HURLEY'S unique team handicapping approach is perfect for a game like this. His on-site sources and scouts will clue him in to what's happening in Indy. If there's an edge to be played, NETWORK clients will play it!
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Back soon to preview Monday Night's fascinating NY Giants/Philadelphia NFC East matchup on ESPN. If Dallas can't get Tony Romo back soon, either the Giants or Eagles will win that division!
Monday: NFL TV Preview...NY Giants at Philadelphia
Midweek: NFL TV Preview...Seattle at San Francisco
Friday-Saturday: College Football TV Preview...to be determined
Sunday: NFL TV Preview...Philadelphia at Carolina
Best of luck to you all weekend. Always check with the NOTEBOOK for handicapping information and tips. Then, link up with JIM HURLEY'S NETWORK for BIG, JUICY WINNERS!
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