The Indianapolis Colts somehow survived the Kansas City Chiefs this past weekend, coming back from a 28-point deficit to advance in the playoffs. Can they play a more stable and authoritative game this weekend against the mighty New England Patriots?
AFC Divisional Playoff Game – Saturday, January 11th
Indianapolis Colts @ New England Patriots
Odds: Patriots -7
Why The Colts Can Cover The Spread
They are a team that has to be feeling very confident, and moreover, it has to feel that it has been liberated and given a second chance.
When a team comes back from a huge deficit to win an NFL playoff game, it will go into the next game believing it can do anything. Look at the 1992 Buffalo Bills. The team came back from a 35-3 deficit to beat the Houston Oilers in the 1992 (January 1993) AFC Wild Card Game. The next week, in the divisional playoff round, the Bills beat the Pittsburgh Steelers on the road, and the following week, they beat the Miami Dolphins on the road. The Colts are not yet the 1992 Bills, but they certainly could be.
When an NCAA tournament team makes the tournament as an unlikely No. 12 seed, that team – feeling it has been given an unexpected gift – then tries to make sure that its opportunity is not wasted. One can draw a comparison with the Colts here. This team has been given a new life, and when that happens, a team will often fly out of the starting gate, trying to avoid digging a 38-10 hole the way the Colts did the week before. Belief and urgency can carry Indianapolis a long way. New England’s defense has been unsteady in recent weeks, so the Colts could score a lot more points in this game and cover on the betting lines.
Why The Patriots Can Cover The Spread
They have managed to survive another season with all sorts of injuries. It seems that Bill Belichick and Tom Brady regularly deal with all kinds of complications each season, and they still get a first-round bye. They still win their division. They still become a Super Bowl favorite entering the month of January. The Patriots are the most resourceful team in the NFL, hands down. They take the parts they are given and make the most out of them.
What should also really help the Patriots in this game is that Indianapolis has a badly injured defense, with a lot of linebackers and defensive backs battling bumps and bruises that are limiting their speed and mobility. The Kansas City Chiefs did not have one of the better offenses in the NFL, but they moved the ball and scored quite easily against the Colts’ defense. If Kansas City can take apart Indianapolis’ back seven, Tom Brady can certainly do the very same thing this Saturday night in Foxborough, Mass.
This game is probably going to be lopsided. The Patriots have certainly gained a lot of information from film study and observation over the past week. New England should be able to attack the Colts’ defense with regularity and not let up. Indianapolis has to play a virtually perfect game to win, and that’s just not likely to happen. Take the Pats on the point spread.
Pick: Patriots -7