Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 10:02 AM
TNF - Colts at Patriots
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Indianapolis at New England (-10, 51), 8:20 pm ET, FOX/NFLN
The Patriots bounced back from a loss in Jacksonville where they looked inferior on both sides of the ball by stomping out Miami’s illusions on Sunday.
For the second straight season, the Patriots have started 2-2, which has welcomed in the naysayers and attracts those eager to sprinkle dirt prematurely on Bill Belichick, Tom Brady and the most successful football franchise we’ve seen this century.
The months after losing to Philadelphia in Super Bowl have been filled with drama, acrimony and speculation over trade talk and the potential retirement of Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski. There have been no answers over why Malcolm Butler was scratched against the Eagles or why other popular players weren’t brought back. After Matt Patricia’s Detroit defense dominated New England on Sunday night in Week 3, all the noise started up again.
The Patriots needed to handle business last week to throw on the noise-canceling headphones, officially putting the past in the rear-view mirror now that we’re a month in and games are the primary focus.
New England avoided hearing all about how the sky is falling by dominating the Dolphins at Gillette Stadium in a game they entered in danger of falling three games behind the pace in the AFC East had they lost. Instead, they scored the game’s first 38 points, breaking things open in the second quarter behind a pair of Tom Brady touchdown tosses and a James White TD run, one of two scores on the day. Rookie RB Sony Michel supplied the exclamation point with a 10-yard fourth-quarter TD run and wound up with 112 yards on 25 carries. He’s carved out a major role, which is fitting since September ended with the emergence of a new cast of characters.
Beyond Michel’s emergence, Cordarrelle Patterson rattled off the big catch-and-run that was representative of exactly what the Patriots hoped he’d bring to the table with his blazing speed. Josh Gordon debuted and contributed. Even though he’s still working his way back from a hamstring injury, the attention he commands makes him an effective decoy even when he’s not getting the ball. Former Colts first-round pick Phillip Dorsett scored for the second time this season, joining Chris Hogan and White with multiple receiving touchdowns. Gronk found the end zone first to open the season but hasn’t scored since and is dealing with an ankle issue but was cleared to play on Thursday morning.
With Julian Edelman also returning from suspension to make his season debut, there’s no longer a responsible way to say that Brady lacks weapons. There may be new faces in play, but the argument can be made that Gordon’s acquisition gives him his most talented receiver since Randy Moss, while Patterson gives him his fastest target.
It’s easy to write that we should all forget about “Deflategate” as a driving force here, but there may still be some residue in play.
Although this is only the second meeting between these teams since the accusation that New England’s quarterback conspired to doctor footballs in the 2014-15 AFC Championship Game was levied, that’s ancient history now.
Consider who is involved here. Bill Belichick is a known grudge-holder. Brady doesn’t need a reason to run up a score, but he’s long been among the NFL’s most competitive performers and had to serve a four-game suspension in ’16. He hasn’t seen the Colts since. This will also be the first time the Colts come into Foxborough since the scandal, so you’re likely to see a fan base that scans the internet for slights to pack a little extra for an old accuser.
Indianapolis is far removed from the days where it could be counted among New England’s threats. The Colts are still bringing Andrew Luck back after missing all of last season, but he looked more like his old self in Sunday’s OT loss despite losing T.Y. Hilton to an in-game injury. Luck rallied the Colts from a double-digit fourth-quarter deficit despite working with the likes of Ryan Grant, Chester Rogers and newcomers at tight end (Eric Ebron, Mo Alie-Cox) and running back (Nyheim Hines, Jordan Wilkins).
Before Luck was injured, he was handing off to the legendary Frank Gore. He’s now working with a pair of rookies, who despite their talent, haven’t made life any easier from a continuity standpoint. This will be a learning experience for many of the Colts, who will be going through a short week situation – on the road, no less – for the first time.
Indianapolis is expected to be missing as many as seven starters and will be entering a venue where sympathy will be hard to find. Check out the injury report below for details. There’s a chance that we could see showers throughout this game and the potential for wind gusts of over 20 miles per hour exist, which could work to the Colts’ benefit in slowing New England down. Luck is 0-5 against Brady.
Season win total: 7.5 (Over +110, Under -130)
Odds to win AFC South: 7/1 to 10/1
Odds to win AFC: 45/1 to 50/1
Odds to win Super Bowl: 100/1 to 100/1
New England Patriots
Season win total: 11 (Over -120, Under +100)
Odds to win AFC East: 1/4 to 1/5
Odds to win AFC: 7/2 to 7/2
Odds to win Super Bowl: 8/1 to 8/1
The Patriots opened the regular season a 1-to-8 favorite to win the AFC East, which suggests an 88.9 percent chance of continuing their dominant run of 14 division titles in 15 years. Although the Dolphins got off to a great start and went up two games, New England's odds never really wavered, moving to 1/4 (80%) before improving following the weekend's conquest of the Miami. The Colts were the AFC South's biggest longshot to open the season at 4/1 and has seen that number reach 10/1 after a slow start.
The Patriots also opened as the AFC favorite (3/1) and the Super Bowl favorite (6/1) for the entire league. Kansas City (5/2) has supplanted the Pats as the AFC's top dog, both in the standings and for futures purposes. Only the L.A. Rams (9/5) and Kansas City (6/1) have better odds than New England (8/1) to win the Super Bowl. Indianapoilis has the same odds as the Browns (50/1) to win the AFC, better than only the Raiders (100/1), Jets (150/1) and Bills (500/1).
As far as this matchup is concerned, the Patriots were installed as a 8-point favorite when the Westgate's early numbers were announced but opened this week laying 10. There are a few 10.5's out there and we may see this dip to 9.5 in the global market. The total opened at 55.5 an quickly was bet down to 53/53.5 before settling in at 51. Team totals have been set up with the Patriots number at 31 and Indy's at 20.5.
New England is a massive -500 favorite on the money line, while Indianapolis will get you +400/+425 on your investment.
Hilton's absence for Indianapolis will make the most noise but isn't the only issue that the eam will have to overcome. Starting corner Kenny Moore and backup Quincy Wilson will miss this game with concussions, while Nate Hairston (ankle) should play, possibly doing so only because the team is so thin in the secondary. Safety Clayton Geathers, one of the top tacklers, is questionable with a knee injury, while linebacker Darius Leonard is dealing with a knee issue.
Up front, Indy is hoping to have left tackle Anthony Castonzo make his season debut despite no practice time at all this season, so his availability is something to montior. Versatile Denzelle Good is out, away from the team due to the death of his brother earlier this week in South Carolina. Center Ryan Kelly, whose botched snap helped contribute to Sunday's loss, is questionable. Tight end Jack Doyle (hip) and RB Marlon Mack (hamstring) also remain sidelined.
The Patriots are in much better shape entering a game on a short week, but did have to put RB Rex Burkhead and rookie LB Ja'Whaun Bentley went on injured reserve. Tackle LaAdrian Waddle (illness) and corner Eric Rowe (groin) join Gronkowski (ankle) as being questionable. Defensive linemen Danny Shelton (elbow), Geneo Grissom (ankle) and Adam Butler (leg) are also all dinged up.
RECENT MEETINGS (New England 8-2 SU, 7-3 ATS last eight; OVER 7-2-1)
10/18/15 New England 34-27 at Indianapolis (NE -9.5, 54.5)
1/18/15 New England 45-7 vs. Indianapolis (NE -7, 52)
11/16/14 New England 42-20 at Indianapolis (NE +3, 57)
1/11/14 New England 43-22 vs. Indianapolis (NE -7, 51)
11/18/12 New England 59-24 vs. Indianapolis (NE -10, 55)
12/4/11 New England 31-24 vs. Indianapolis (IND +20.5, 48.5)
11/21/10 New England 31-28 vs. Indianapolis (IND +4.5, 50)
11/15/09 Indianapolis 35-34 vs. New England (NE +1.5, 48.5)
11/2/08 Indianapolis 18-15 vs. New England (NE +6.5, 44)
11/4/07 New England 24-20 at Indianapolis (IND +5, 56.5)
Of the props available below at [...] I'd ride the first score being a touchdown and will trust Indy's Adam Vinatieri to best his successor in New England, Stephen Gostkowski, for the game's longest field goal.
Team to reach 10 points first: (Patriots -240, Colts +200)
Team to reach 20 points first: (Patriots -330, Colts +270)
Team to score first: (Patriots -175, Colts +155)
Team to score last: (Patriots -140, Colts +120)
First score: (Touchdown -175, FG/Safety +155)
First turnover: (None +900, Fumble +165, INT -210)
Highest scoring half: 1st -120, 2nd + OT +100)
Total FGs made by both teams: (3.5, Over -110, Under -110)
Team with longest TD scored: (Patriots -185, Colts +160)
Team with longest FG made: (Patriots -140, Colts +120)
2-point conversion action: (Successful +280, No conversion/No attempt -340)
4th down conversion action: (Successful -300, No conversion/No attempt +250)
Will there be a defensive or special teams TD?: (Yes +180, No -220)
Will there be a kickoff return touchdown?: (Yes +1400, No -2500)
Will there be a 0 or 1-yard TD?: (Yes -125, No +105)
Will there be overtime: (Yes +1000, No -1500)
Will there be 3 straight scores by either team: (Yes -250, No +210)
NEXT WEEK'S NUMBERS POSTED
Westgate Vegas opens its advance lines for the following week on Tuesdays and Week 6 currently has the Colts liisted as a 1-point road underdog at the Jets. The Patriots will be back in the national spotlight, hosting the Chiefs on Sunday night for a showdown that's going to be among the season's most hyped. New England has been made a 3-point favorite.
Follow Tony Mejia on Twitter at @TonyMejiaNBA