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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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The Huddle
~ 2009 ~
Season Ticket
Bye Week
Sunday Late

Prediction: NE 24, IND 30

Here's the game of the week. The Patriots are now 6-2 and leading the AFC East by two games over the Jets. Notable though is that while the Pats are 5-0 at home, they are only 1-2 in road games. The Colts are a perfect 8-0 and leading the AFC South by three games. This game always generates interest and this time it will be Manning on the quest for the perfect season and NFL passing records.

The Colts won 18-15 when the Patriots visited last year. They lost 24-20 when the Patriots visited with Tom Brady in 2007.

New England Patriots (6-2)
Homefield: Gillette Stadium
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 BUF 25-24 -10.5 47
2 @NYJ 9-16 -6 46
3 ATL 26-10 -4 44.5
4 BAL 27-21 -2 44.5
5 @DEN 17-20 -3.5 41.5
6 TEN 59-0 -9.5 43
7 @TB 35-7 -15.5 44.5
8 BYE BYE - -
9 MIA 27-17 -10.5 47
10 @IND - +3 50
11 NYJ - - -
12 @NO - - -
13 @MIA - - -
14 CAR - - -
15 @BUF - - -
16 JAC - - -
17 @HOU - - -
NE at IND Rush Catch Pass
QB Tom Brady     300,2
RB Laurence Maroney 60,1    
TE Ben Watson   20,1  
WR Randy Moss   70  
WR Wes Welker   110,1  
WR Sam Aiken   30  
PK Stephen Gostowski 1 FG 3 XP  
Pregame Notes: The Patriots are on a three game winning streak but their worst games by far this year was when they hit the road to play the Jets and Broncos and only scored 17 points or less in those matchups. Against weaker opponents the Pats have been rolling up scores but that won't be the case this week in the first game that they were not favored to win. The next four games are going to be the toughest stretch of the year with @IND, NYJ, @NO and @MIA. The Patriots will definitely know where they stand by week 14 when the schedule turns and they could easily win out.

Quarterback: Tom Brady is on a roll lately with his last three games all passing for over 300 yards and scoring a total of ten times. But that was more a function of rolling up scores against the Buccaneers and Titans. On the road, Brady had only 215 yards and two scores in Denver and 216 yards and no touchdowns in New York. But this week always takes a different slant than other games. Brady threw for three scores and 255 yards in his 2007 trip to Indianapolis.

Cassel only passed for 204 yards and no scores against the Colts last year.

The Colts have only allowed four passing touchdowns and never more than one per opponent. Houston and Arizona posted 300+ yard games against them but the scoring remains low. Look for nice yardage from Brady since he will be forced to throw and no more than two scores which already would be a season high for the Colts to give up.

Running Backs: Laurence Maroney has enjoyed the best three game stretch of his career with Fred Taylor out and an unusually high number of carries per game. He has averaged 17 rushing attempts per week and gained 248 rushing yards in total and had a rushing touchdown in each of those three games. That's about as consistent as any runner has been in New England since Bill Belichick showed up. Kevin Faulk helps out but only marginally.

The Patriots rushed for 120 yards and one touchdown on 27 carries in Indy last season.

The Colts rushing defense has been the weaker part but playing in Indianapolis has not resulted in any runners topping 100 yards though a few came close. Look for Maroney to have a decent game here and there should be one rushing touchdown that favors Maroney more than the other runners. Take any projection for a Patriots running back with a grain of salt but Maroney can still produce this week if the Pats will give him enough work.

Wide Receivers: While there are only two receivers of any note on this team, Randy Moss and Wes Welker remain two of the top wideouts in the league. Moss has five touchdowns and four efforts with more than 100 yards but once again - all scores and all big yardage games have come in home games. On the road he has not had more than 60 yards and that was in Tampa Bay. That's a huge concern this week in Indy against the best secondary he has yet faced.

Welker is much less sensitive to the venue and has been over 80 yards in almost every game this year. He has four scores on the season but most of his best production came from big efforts over the Bucs and Titans in the "roll it up" beat downs handed out by the Patriots.

Moss had 65 yards on six catches against the Colts last season and Welker turned in seven receptions for 37 yards.

Tight Ends: Benjamin Watson has been marginally productive this year and consistent enough with around 30 or 40 yards in every game but his pertinent characteristic for this week is that his last two scores came in the last two road games. Watson is not much for yardage in any game but Brady will check on him in road games so far.

The Colts rank great against tight ends but have faced almost none of note. Vernon Davis had the lone score against them. I like Watson to score this week - it in is his trend and while the Colts have been shutting down tight ends, they'll be plenty busy tracking Moss and Welker around.

Gaining Fantasy Points NE 2 11 2 18 1 25
Preventing Fantasy Points IND 4 15 16 2 11 1

Indianapolis Colts(8-0)
Homefield: Lucas Oil Stadium
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 JAC 14-12 -6.5 44.5
2 @MIA 27-23 -3 42
3 @ARI 31-10 +2.5 48
4 SEA 34-17 -10 43.5
5 @TEN 31-9 -3.5 46.5
6 BYE - - -
7 @STL 42-6 -14 45
8 SF 18-14 -13 45
9 HOU 20-17 -9 48
10 NE - -3 50
11 @BAL - - -
12 @HOU - - -
13 TEN - - -
14 DEN - - -
15 @JAC - - -
16 NYJ - - -
17 @BUF - - -
IND vs NE Rush Catch Pass
QB Peyton Manning     310,2
RB Joseph Addai 60 10  
TE Dallas Clark   80,1  
WR Reggie Wayne   80,1  
WR Austin Collie   50  
WR Pierre Garcon   60  
PK Matt Stover 3 FG 3 XP  

Pregame Notes: Not unlike the Saints, the Colts have spent the last two games acting like they are ready to lose a game but this week can be no such event. Nothing like the visiting Patriots to sharpen up the Colts practice habits. There will be plenty of other opportunities to lose a game with BAL, DEN and NYJ left to play but this week on the national late game for Sunday will be a time for both teams to showcase themselves.

I like a defensive score this week.

Quarterback: Peyton Manning has already set the new franchise record with seven games over 300 passing yards and he could tie Tom Brady from 2007 with eight this week. There has been only one game with less than 300 yards and that was a road game to play the Rams. At home, Manning has been a lock to pass for over 300 yards each week.

Manning passed for 254 yards and two scores against the visiting Pats last year.

The Patriots have allowed at least one passing score in every road game this year and so far they have hardly faced any decent passing attacks. Kyle Orton posted 330 yards and two scores on them in week five. Other than Matt Ryan, the Pats have just not faced a good passing attack so look for the standard 300 passing yards and at least two passing scores.

Running Backs: Donald Brown has missed the last two games with a shoulder injury even though he did some practicing last week. I will hold him out this week pending his clearance to play. Joseph Addai comes off his best effort of the year when he had 63 yards on 14 carries, 49 yards on five receptions and two touchdowns against the Texans. He has scored in five of the last six games even though his yardage rarely rises above 60 total yards in a game.

The Colts only rushed for 47 yards on 21 carries against the Pats last season.

The Patriots have been outstanding against the run this year and allowed only two rushing scores. While they have allowed a couple big rushing games to happen, the Colts are not going to commit to the run like that anyway. While there is a chance that Addai scores, more likely he'll settle for just his decent yardage totals. The Colts will find more success passing.

Wide Receivers: Reggie Wayne ended his five game scoring streak when he only had 64 yards on eight catches against the Texans. But Wayne has been a lock for good stats each week and that was the first home game where he had not scored. Austin Collie got a neck stinger last week but says he'll be fine to play here. He's been a nonfactor for three games after scoring four times between weeks four and seven. Pierre Garcon never scores at home and has been locked around 50 or 60 yards in almost every game as a possession receiver.

All three starting wideouts had between 50 and 60 yards against the Patriots last year with Gonzalez scoring both touchdowns.

The Patriots have ranked highly against wideouts but they have not faced that many decent ones. Brandon Marshall had 64 yards and two scores against them. Even Antonio Bryant had a touchdown against them. Look for decent yardage from the three starters but likely no monster games from any of them.

Tight Ends: This should be an interesting week. Dallas Clark has been very productive in almost every game this year but only has three scores - each in a road game. But these last two weeks has seen Manning really turn to Clark when the times were tough and he responded with two huge efforts.

Clark caught four passes and gained 63 yards on the Pats last year.

The Pats have been tough against tight ends and only allowed three touchdowns to the position this year. But again - they have not faced that many good teams and Clark at home should be a major factor in this game.

Gaining Fantasy Points IND 4 13 4 1 9 16
Preventing Fantasy Points NE 7 4 7 8 2 3

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