The New England Patriots will travel to Indianapolis for a Thanksgiving Weekend clash with the 9-2 Colts at the RCA Dome. The 9-2 Patriots have established the best 11-game start in franchise history and have rode a seven-game winning streak into first place in the AFC East. The Patriots defense is on a roll after allowing the Houston Texans just 169 total yards last week, but will face its toughest test so far this season when it squares off against the Colts' top-ranked passing attack. New England's secondary leads the NFL in allowing opposing quarterbacks to compile just a 57.7 passer rating while allowing just six passing touchdowns and recording 17 interceptions. Colts quarterback Peyton Manning leads the league's best passing unit into what should be a tough battle between two of this season's most successful squads. New England has compiled a league-best 5-0 record against teams with winning records, but that mark will be put to the test this week against one of the NFL's top teams.
This week's game will be televised by CBS. The game can be seen locally on WBZ-TV Channel 4 in Boston. Greg Gumbel will handle the play-by-play duties and Phil Simms will provide analysis. Armen Keteyian will provide reports from the sidelines throughout the game. Following the game, the Fifth Quarter postgame show can be seen on WSBK-TV Channel 38 in Boston.
WBCN 104.1 FM is the flagship station for the Patriots Rock Radio Network. Play-by-play broadcaster Gil Santos is in his 27th season as the voice of the Patriots and calls the action along with Patriots Hall of Famer Gino Cappelletti. In 2003, Santos and Cappelletti celebrate their 20th season as a broadcast tandem.
The Patriots have established the best start in franchise history with a 9-2 record through 11 games. The Patriots' previous best 11-game start was in 1964 when they began the season with an 8-2-1 mark. The Patriots are tied for the second best record in the NFL this season, joining the Colts and Titans at 9-2.
RISING TO THE OCCASION
The Patriots are 5-0 this season against teams that currently have winning records, showing their ability to beat the NFL's top teams. New England has beaten one 9-2 team (Tennessee) and two 8-3 teams (Dallas and Philadelphia). The Patriots also beat Miami (7-4) and Denver (6-5). New England is the only team in the NFL with seven or more wins to have played as many as five games against teams with records above .500.
One of the oldest mantras in sports is that it doesn't matter where you start a season, but it does matter where you finish it. The Patriots have done a remarkable job of finishing strong over the past two-plus seasons, as they have compiled a 20-4 (.833) record after November 1 since the 2001 season. In 2001, the Patriots hit their groove as the calendar turned to the 11th month, winning 11 of their last 12 games en route to the Super Bowl XXXVI title.