Are you fired up?
How about now?
Tonight is probably the difference between a Top 2 seed vs. the 3 seed for both the Colts and Patriots. It helps that the Broncos lost today (How the hell did the Rams win???!!!), but the Pats host the Lions, then go on the road to Lambeau field to face the only team with a better point differential than them, and then go to San Diego. Three teams are vying for the 1st round byes, and the Broncos, Pats, and Colts can’t afford to lose ground on one another. Gotta have this one.
As far as the matchups go, these teams are even more similar than we realize. According to the always amazing Football Outsiders, Indy is 7th in total DVOA, 7th in weighted DVOA, 8th in offense, 18th in defense, and 5th in special teams. New England is 8th in total DVOA, 9th in weighted DVOA, 9th in offense, 22nd in defense, and 3rd in special teams. Both teams have good coaches, although I think it’s clear which team has the edge there.
I’ve been a little skeptical of FO’s rankings of the Pats, only because their weighted rankings, which rate recent games are more important, is lower than the overall rankings. And as we know, the Pats have played wayyyy better recently than they did in September. So that’s a little weird, but the rankings should still tell you a lot.
Both the Pats and Colts are ranked badly in both pass and rush defense, so we should be seeing a pretty similar game on both sides of the ball: A high-flying shootout with both teams mixing in the pass and rush to throw the other off. Both Brady and Luck fantasy owners should be happy tonight, especially because the game is in a dome.
Even Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth aren’t as pumped for this game as I am. Pats 34 Colts 27. Let’s do it.