How well-prepared can the 1-3 Colts be this week both mentally and physically?
The 70 minutes of football they played in losing to the Texans in overtime on Sunday took a toll and head coach Frank Reich acknowledged that as he turned his Monday and Tuesday practices into walkthroughs instead.
“Originally we [were] going to practice, but given the short week and the amount of plays [with] the overtime, [it’s] most important to take care of the guys physically and just really get focused in mentally on what we’re gonna do,” Reich said. “So looking forward to getting on the road, and a good test ahead of us.”
There were 34 snaps in overtime and the two teams went up and down the field on each other – Indy generated 478 yards of offense and allowed 466. Andrew Luck, coming off his litany of career-altering injuries, threw 62 times and took four sacks. Those guys are gonna be toast.
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Meanwhile, the Patriots were involved in a lopsided win over the Dolphins that allowed them to sit some players down toward the end. We can sit and discuss matchups and schemes all we want, but in the end, if the spirit is willing and the flesh is weak (or wicked sore) players will struggle.
Among the Colts dealing with something is kicker Adam Vinatieri, who has an injured groin. Wide receiver T.Y. Hilton has sternum and back injuries and is unlikely to play. Tight end Jack Doyle, safety Clayton Geathers, linebacker Darious Leonard, center Ryan Kelly, corner Kenny Moore and linebacker Darius Leonard all were listed as hypothetical non-participants if the Colts had run a full practice (it’s a short week injury report thing…). Also, their right tackle Denzelle Good has been away from the team following the shooting death of his brother, Overton, this week.
Beyond the injuries and fatigue is the simple fact that getting a team ready on the short week is doubly hard for a first-year head coach who’s never done it. Having to prepare for the Patriots trebles the complications because New England alters its offensive and defensive plans so much each week.
As for the other factors that bear watching, momentum is a big one. Indy’s lost two in a row and is in the midst of a stretch where they’re playing five of seven games on the road. That sucks.
The Patriots are in the middle of a three-game homestand and just did a 180 in their win over Miami. Plus, the return of Julian Edelman will bring another boost. And the Patriots just don’t lose on Thursday nights.
The Patriots are favored by 10.5 and the total is 51.5. Give the Patriots the narrow cover . . .
PREDICTION: Patriots 27, Colts 16