The Patriots and Colts will renew acquaintances for the fourth time in a 14-month span as they stage a rematch of last season's AFC Championship Game in this year's AFC Divisional Playoffs. Indianapolis will travel to Foxborough for the second time this season as the two teams stage a reprise of the Patriots' thrilling 27-24 victory in the opening week of the season.
New England's defense tied for second in the NFL in allowing just 16.3 points per game in the regular season, but will face its toughest test of the year in trying to contain the Indianapolis offense, which led the NFL in scoring, averaging 32.7 points per game.
Two of the game's premier quarterbacks will lead their teams against each other for the sixth time in their careers. New England's Tom Brady holds a 5-0 mark against Indianapolis and turned in one of his best performances of the 2004 season in the season opener against the Colts, compiling a season-high 335 yards and three touchdown passes. Indianapolis' Peyton Manning will face the Patriots for the 12th time in his career, with the Patriots holding a 9-2 record in the previous 11 games. New England has won its last five games against Manning-led teams despite the Colts signal caller posting passer ratings of more than 90.0 in two of the three recent games between the teams.
With a victory, New England would advance to the AFC Championship Game for the fifth time in team history, the third time in four years and the fourth time in the nine seasons dating back to 1996.
TELEVISION: This week's game will be televised to a national audience by CBS. The game can be seen in Boston on WBZ-TV Channel 4. Jim Nantz will handle the play-by-play duties and Phil Simms will provide analysis. Bonnie Bernstein will provide reports from the sidelines throughout the game.
RADIO: WBCN 104.1 FM is the flagship station for the Patriots Rock Radio Network. Play-by-play broadcaster Gil Santos is in his 28th season as the voice of the Patriots and will call the action along with Patriots Hall of Famer Gino Cappelletti. Santos and Cappelletti are celebrating their 21st season as a broadcast tandem.
NATIONAL RADIO: This week's game will be broadcast to a national audience by CBS Radio/Westwood One. Bob Papa and Rick Walker will handle play-by-play duties, while Jeff Bostic will contribute reports from the sidelines.
SPANISH RADIO: A Spanish language national broadcast of the game will be provided by CBS Radio/Westwood One. Armando Quintero and Benny Ricardo will call all of the action from Foxborough.
HOME SWEET HOME
The Patriots have recorded a 23-3 (.885) record at Gillette Stadium, including regular-season and postseason games. The Patriots hold an all-time record of 6-1 in home playoff games, including victories in each of their last six home postseason contests. New England has not lost at home in the playoffs in more than 25 years, dating back to Dec. 31, 1978. The Patriots have won 19 consecutive regular-season and postseason contests at home, compiling the longest current home winning streak in the NFL. New England has not lost at home since a 30-17 defeat to the New York Jets on Dec. 22, 2002. The Patriots' .885 winning percentage at Gillette Stadium is the highest of any NFL team at its current home.