The Patriots appear to be peaking at the right time as they head into Sunday's showdown at Indianapolis. With a 5-2 record, they're confident they can handle the Colts' prolific passing game despite their own health issues in the secondary.
"Whoever is called upon to play, they got to be ready to play and ready to play at a high level," safety James Sanderstold the Boston Globe.
Linebacker Adalius Thomas, who was not a big part of the game plan last year against the Colts, figures to be much more of a factor this time around considering he's emerged into a workhorse on defense.
"I want to do my best to contribute. Whatever we see fit to run against the Colts, I'll do," Thomas told the Boston Herald.
Against a team like Indianapolis that can move the ball quickly on a short field, the Patriots can't afford penalties. Lucky for them, they're coming off a game in which they didn't commit a single penalty – the first time they've done so since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger.
"The players are doing a good job of not getting those 'silly' penalties," head coach Bill Belichicktold the Providence Journal.
Depth is also a key to the team's recent success. The Patriots have suffered a number of injuries on both sides of the ball, yet are still tied for first place in the AFC East.
"That's what separates the good teams from the average teams," wide receiver Kelley Washingtontold the MetroWest Daily News.
The Colts have a short week as they prepare for New England, but they're still reeling from Monday night's loss to the undefeated Tennessee Titans.
Indianapolis came up short on two fourth-down plays that could've swung the momentum in the opposite direction.
"Those are fourth downs we've got to be able to convert," quarterback Peyton Manning told the Indianapolis Star.
The Colts are also in danger of losing the AFC South. They trail the Titans by four games with nine remaining. Monday's loss might've been the final nail in the coffin.
"We played high-energy but not well enough to win," head coach Tony Dungy told the Star.
The *St. Louis Post-Dispatch *also takes a look at the lack of penalties called against New England on Sunday. The Rams sent a tape of what they felt were obvious fouls to the NFL office, but head coach Jim Haslett suggests it will do no good.
"I love the responses," Haslett told the Post-Dispatch.