Indianapolis Colts (11-5) at New England Patriots (12-4)
|Date & Time||Sunday January 18, 2015, 6:40 PM (EST)|
The Line: New England Patriots -7 -- Over/Under: 53.5
The Indianapolis Colts and New England Patriots play Sunday in the AFC Conference Championship at Gillette Stadium.
The Indianapolis Colts are the only wild card team in the conference championship with wins over Cincinnati and Denver. The Colts will continue to live and die with Andrew Luck, who has 87 pass attempts and three touchdowns in his last two games. The Colts have no running game to speak of and missed Trent Richardson last week as he was a late scratch before the game started. In order for the Colts to pull off another upset here, it has to continue being the Luck and T.Y. Hilton show, as there’s no team in the league that asks more of its quarterback. One surprise with the Colts in the playoffs has been their defense that’s allowed a combined 23 points in its last two games. While the pass rush hasn’t been great, Vontae Davis and the rest of the secondary have really stepped up. Of course, the Colts will have its biggest task this week.
The New England Patriots made a big comeback last week to top Baltimore and are now 8-1 SU this season at home. Tom Brady could be in the same position as Luck, as he’s coming off a game where he threw the ball 50 times and completed 66 percent of those passes. Rob Gronkowski has caught a touchdown in four straight passes and Julian Edelman has 23 receptions in his last three games. In order to take some of the pressure off of Brady, Jonas Gray has to return from an ankle injury, and he’s currently questionable for the game. Struggling ground game or not, we’ve seen countless times that Brady and company have no problem putting the game on their shoulders. Defensively, the Patriots have a point to prove after giving up 31 points and 428 total yards against the Ravens. Darrelle Revis and Patrick Chung will have their hands full with the Colts constantly throwing the football.
The Colts are 19-6-1 ATS in their last 26 vs. AFC and 3-1-1 ATS in their last 5 games overall. The Patriots are 12-5 ATS in their last 17 home games and 3-9 ATS in their last 12 playoff home games. The underdog is 14-5-2 ATS in their last 21 meetings.
The Patriots have won the last five meetings SU and the last three games have been decided by at least 21 points. While that may side with the Pats, I'm not sold with the way New England has been playing as of late, and they're actually a little lucky to still be playing after a big comeback last week. The Colts are that hot team right now that seems to be gaining confidence each week. I'm taking my chances with the free touchdown, as I think Indy has a punchers chance to steal one outright.