PATRIOTS (12-4) vs. COLTS (12-5)
Tomorrow, 8:30 p.m., at Gillette Stadium, Foxboro
TV: Ch. 4 (Greg Gumbel and Dan Dierdorf)
Radio: 98.5 FM The Sports Hub (Bob Socci and Scott Zolak)
The series: Pats lead 47-29, including 2-1 in the playoffs (2-0 at Gillette Stadium) Last meeting: Pats 59, Colts 24 -- Nov. 18, 2012 at Gillette Latest line: Pats -7; Over/under total: 52
2013 STATISTICAL BREAKDOWN
12-4 Record 12-5
1st, AFC East Standings%1st, AFC South
384.5 (7) Offense 341.8 (15)
129.1 (9) Rushing 108.9 (20)
255.4 (10) Passing 232.8 (17)
373.1 (26) Defense 357.1 (20)
134.1 (30) Rushing 125.1 (26)
239.0 (18) Passing 231.9 (13)
+9 Turnover margin +13
BY THE NUMBERS
.500 -- Like it or not, Tom Brady has tempered down to 7-7 in his last 14 playoff starts. Remember when he was 10-0? Make that 17-7.
8 -- Super Bowls which have included Bill Belichick, including five as a head coach here with the Patriots and three as an assistant coach,
20 -- Patriots playoff wins since 1994, by far best in the AFC, while Indy is fifth with 12.
7.5 -- Sacks this year by rookie, undrafted free agent, Jerrell Freeman, a perfect complement to Robert Mathis on the other side.
28 -- Let’s keep reminding the Colts of the amazing deficit they ralliied from in the last playoff game with the Chiefs. The goal is that they wallow in that amazing accomplishment while the Pats tend to business and kick the daylights out of them.
57.6 -- Andrew Luck’s career playoff completion percentage, slightly under that of his backup, former BC great Matt Hasselbeck at 58.4.
Keys for the Patriots
1. Adam scares me -- Take care of business. Put this one out of reach early. The idea of Adam Vinatieri lining up a game-winner in whatever weather, rain, sleet, snow, gloom of night, petrifies me. Put them away. Please!
2. Thank You, Hilton -- Find him and lock him down. If T.Y. Hilton beats the Patriots this week, after ravaging the Chiefs a week ago for all to see, than this one hangs on Belichick and his defensive coaches.
3. Win one for me -- My neck is on the line as I truly do not see Andrew Luck as the rest of this nation does, as a superstar. I see a middle-of-the-pack Ryan Tannehill type. Time for the Patriots to pick me up one time and get it done... For me! Show the world how mediocre this kid is, just like you did last year.
Hector Longo’s prediction: Patriots 38, Colts 24 (11-5 straight up; 5-11 vs. the spread)
Analysis: Sorry, I don’t buy Andrew Luck, and I certainly don’t buy the Colts defense. So bring on those Lightning Bolts, baby! Yes, as an extra selection this week, I do like San Diego to shock Denver at Mile High.