The Patriots are getting set to take on the Colts Sunday night in Foxborough. It will be New England's fourth straight appearance in the AFC Championship game, this battle coming against an Indy squad that Bill Belichick's team has dominated since Andrew Luck took over at quarterback in 2012.
But despite three blowout wins over the Colts in recent years – including a 42-20 New England victory on Nov. 16 at Lucas Oil Stadium – some of today's news tries to pump up the idea that Indy is a far different, far better team than those that have been dismissed handily by Tom Brady and Co. over the last three seasons. Others don't seem to buy that storyline.
The Boston Globe says the “don’t expect an easy go of it” in Sunday night's battle for AFC supremacy. Elsewhere the Globe quotes Belichick emphasizing that the Colts have “improved in every area” since the teams' meeting in November.
While many are moving on, the* Globe's* Ben Volin takes another look back New England’s unique four-lineman formation that left John Harbaugh and the Ravens fuming in Saturday night's win.
The Globe also has the tale of former Dolphins fullback Rob Konrad – a native of North Andover, Mass. – in his recent nine-mile swim to shore after falling out of his fishing boat off the coast of Florida.
Tuesday means it's report card day for Ron Borges in the Boston Herald, with plenty of high marks to go around for Brady and his offensive weapons. Herald columnist Steve Buckley looks at the Patriots trick plays over the weekend and Belichick "getting in foe's heads." The Herald doesn’t seem to believe the idea that the Colts are a much better team than the one that got blown out by the Patriots a couple months back.
The Provident Journal focuses on the problems that Luck can create for an opposing defense like the one Matt Patricia will field on Sunday. The ProJo also breaks down the roles that Danny Amendola and Brandon LaFell now fill on the New England offense.
Belichick has said he got the idea for New England's four-lineman offensive look from another NFL team, and ESPNBoston.com thinks it may have found that team. The site also looks at the injury Bryan Stork suffered against the Ravens and what that might mean for the New England line this coming weekend. ESPNBoston offers a few more leftovers from Monday’s conference calls with the Patriots coaches.
WEEI.com brings us Tedy Bruschi saying that the Patriots need to give Jonas Gray – who rushed for 201 yards and four touchdowns in the regular season win in Indy – another shot to show his stuff against the Colts this weekend. WEEI's Ryan Hannable says that Brady found great success against the Ravens getting rid of the ball quickly, while Chris Price compares the current Patriots to the 2003 squad that won the Super Bowl.
Patriots Insider Tom Curran writes on CSNNE.com that the Colts shouldn’t conjure up much fear for New England. The site has a video from Brady pal and former rival Jason Taylor saying the Colts have “a puncher’s chance” thanks to Luck of pulling off the upset. Phil Perry details Belichick saying the Patriots need to take care of the ball better against Indy after a few close calls against the Ravens.