New England Patriots host Indianapolis Colts: Pick & Prediction
Indianapolis Colts (1-3 SU, 2-2 ATS) vs. New England Patriots (2-2 SU, 2-2 ATS)
Date/Time: Thursday, October 4th, 8:20 PM
Where: Gillette Stadium, Foxboro, MA
By: Mike Mann, NFL Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: INDY +10 / NE -10 (Youwager)
Over/Under Total: 51.5
The Indianapolis Colts head east to take on the New England Patriots for a prime time showdown Thursday night in Foxboro. The Patriots have dominated the series of late with seven straight wins against the Colts, while also posting a 4-1 record against the spread in their last five meetings.
Indy has struggled in recent years, and some see it as a bit of karma after their crybaby antics during the 2015 playoffs on the heels of their blowout 41-7 loss to New England. Since then they haven’t finished a season with a winning record and have in turn missed out on the postseason three years in a row. They have also struggled through an injury and its continued ramifications to franchise quarterback Andrew Luck, who still doesn’t look the same promising young QB as he once did and it remains to be seen if he will ever get back to that level again.
Another area the Colts have had issues in is coaching, as many Colts fans were nearly celebrating when Chuck Pagano was relieved of his job and the reigns were eventually given over to Frank Reich. Unfortunately it didn’t take long for fans to sour on Reich after a highly questionable decision that cost them their game against Houston this past week when he decided to go for it on fourth and four on their own side of the field in overtime. Their attempt wasn’t close and soon after the Texans knocked in a field goal for the win.
One reason the decision was made worse was the fact that the offense was without star wide receiver T.Y. Hilton, who had already been lost to injury in the game thanks to a hamstring pull that leaves him questionable for this Thursday’s game. The Colts have one of the worst grouping of skill position players in the league, and without their lone standout in Hilton, the odds of them converting went down that much more and made the decision to go for it that much worse of an idea.
The loss of Hilton can not be understated. The roster is already weak. His departure leaves unknowns Ryan Grant and Chester Rogers as top wide receiver threats and now means that their tight end combo of Eric Ebron and Jack Doyle could be that much more prevalent on Thursday. They will all need to be at their best, as their 29th ranked rushing attack, that gained just 41 yards this past Sunday, is still completely unreliable with hopeful bright spot Marlon Mack banged up too.
New England has dealt with missing key players as well but this week finally gets Julian Edelman back, which will immediately bolster their wide receiving core. New addition Josh Gordon caught both of his targets and had a key block on a touchdown run in their demolition of Miami, and with star tight end Rob Gronkowski slowed by an ankle injury, having both players added to Tom Brady’s options will be key in the success of the offense.
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The Patriots backfield took a hit last week when it was announced that Rex Burkhead was joining Jeremy Hill on the injured reserve list, which left Sony Michel and James White as the only real options. Michel finally earned all the attention he was getting from the coaching staff with a break out game against the Dolphins, rushing for 112 yards and a touchdown. The underrated White continues to lead the team in receptions and had double the amount of anyone else against Miami. Both players should remain strong options in a running game that fans are hoping gets better as the weeks move on.
Any talk of a Patriots demise was hopefully silenced last weekend, though nothing could ever stop the doom and gloom that is the Boston media market. They may be a game behind in the standings, but the road through the AFC East and the conference itself still goes through New England. With the Steelers struggling, the Patriots matchup against the Chiefs in two weeks is looking like a possible precursor for bigger things to come.
Tom Brady’s first start of his professional career came against the Colts, and since then he has found great success against this club putting up a 14-4 all time record with the last loss coming in 2009. He has thrown at least two touchdown passes in 11 of their 13 regular season matchups, and with Edelman and Gordon now joining the fray it seems likely that this streak will continue this week. The Colts may hold ill will toward Josh McDaniels for bailing on them, but with their depleted roster there doesn’t appear much that they will be able to do about it. You can count on the Patriots getting an easy win and cover at home in the friendly confines of Gillette Stadium on Thursday Night Football.
Mike’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: New England -10