Indianapolis Colts (7-0) +3, O/U 48 at New England Patriots (6-1), 8:30 p.m. Eastern Sunday, NBC
by Predictem.com Staff
A couple of familiar foes hook up in a game that will go a long way toward deciding home-field advantage in the AFC playoffs when the Indianapolis Colts take on the New England Patriots in Foxboro Sunday night.
Undefeated Indianapolis sits atop the AFC South, three games clear of the second-place Jacksonville Jaguars.
New England leads the AFC East by 2 games over the second-place New York Jets.
In their latest outings, the Colts outlasted the Broncos in Denver last week 34-31 in one of QB Peyton Manning’s great games 32/39/345 and three TD’s. Monday night, the Patriots looked great in beating down the Minnesota Vikings at the Metrodome 31-7, with the Vikings only score coming on a punt return.
New England had beaten Indy six straight times, and four times in four seasons (including the playoffs), until last year, when the Colts bounced the Pats 40-21 in Foxboro on a Monday night in November. Indy outrushed New England 132-34 and the game went over its posted total of 48.
This season, both of these teams are 5-2 against the spread. The Colts are 3-0 straight up and 2-1 against the spread on the road, while the Patriots are 2-1 SU and 1-2 ATS at home.
Last Sunday, Indianapolis allowed Denver to rush for 227 yards, and the Colts rank dead last in the NFL vs. the run by allowing an average of 168 yards per game on the ground. Meanwhile, Indy is only averaging 108 rushing yards on offense.
New England is outrushing opponents this season by a 125-78 yards-per-game average.
Manning, who is 2-7 in his career against the Patriots under head coach Belichick, is hitting at a 65% completion rate and owns both an 18/2 TD/INT ratio and a 108.9 passing rating.
Patriots QB Tom Brady, who only went 29/43/374 with 4 TD’s Monday night, is completing 59% of his passes for a 15/4 TD/INT ratio and a 92.4 passing rating.
These two teams have played two common opponents this season. New England suffered its only loss this season to Denver 17-7 in September as six-point home chalk, while, as mentioned above, Indy beat the Broncos in Denver 34-31 last week as three-point road dogs. Also, the Colts beat the Jets in Jersey 31-28 as seven-point road favorites a month ago, while the Pats beat New York 24-17 in September as six-point road chalk.
Indianapolis ranks #1 in the NFL by a wide margin with a 58% success rate on 3rd down, but the defense ranks second-worst by allowing opponents to convert 48% of their 3rd-down attempts.
New England ranks 9th in 3rd-down conversion rate at 41%, and the Pats defense ranks 15th by allowing opponents to convert 37.5% of third downs.
The Patriots rank 11th in time-of-possession at 30:56, while the Colts rank 21st at 29:21.
Indy is +7 in the turnovers category, while New England is +6.
The Colts pulled off a great free-agency coup by signing kicker Adam Vinatieri from New England. Vinatieri is only 14-for-14 so far this year on FG attempts, and pierced the middle of the uprights twice in clutch fashion in last weeks win in Denver.
Vinatieri’s replacement for the Patriots, Stephen Gostkowski, is six-of-nine this season on FGs.
The Sagarin PREDICTOR ratings at USAToday.com rank the Colts 7th at 26.3, New England 8th at 25.0.
The O/U is 4-3 in Indianapolis games this season, 2-5 in Patriots games.
New England opened up as a one-point favorite for Sunday’s game, but that number has been bet up to three.