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Patriots take on Colts

With a trip to Houston and Super Bowl XXXVIII on the line, the Patriots and Colts will square off in the AFC Championship Game at Gillette Stadium this Sunday.

With a trip to Houston and Super Bowl XXXVIII on the line, the Patriots and Colts will square off in the AFC Championship Game at Gillette Stadium this Sunday. The game will be a rematch of a thrilling Week 13 battle in which the Patriots prevailed in a 38-34 shootout at the RCA Dome in Indianapolis. With the right to play for the ultimate prize in pro football at stake, this Sunday's game promises to be a hard-fought matchup to decide which team is the cream of the AFC crop.

New England enters the contest with a five-game winning streak at home in the playoffs and is 7-3 in postseason play since 1996. The Patriots have won 13 games in a row, dating back to the first week in October, and have set a club record with 15 victories this season, besting the 14-5 mark set by the Super Bowl XXXVI Championship team in 2001.

The Patriots are playing in their third AFC Championship Game in the past eight seasons and are the only AFC team to have played in as many as three of the last eight championship contests. With a win this week, New England would advance to the Super Bowl for the second time in three seasons and become the only team in the NFL to own three conference championships since 1996.

TELEVISION
This week's game will be broadcast nationwide on 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.

RADIO
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.

HOME COOKING
The Patriots are 9-0 at Gillette Stadium this season and recorded the first undefeated regular season at home in team history. New England is 18-3 in its last 21 home games, including regular-season and playoff games. The Patriots have a 5-1 all-time record at home in the playoffs.

RECORD STREAK
The Patriots ended the 2003 regular season with a 12-game winning streak to finish the regular season at 14-2. The streak is tied for the third longest season-ending winning streak in NFL history. Every other NFL team to end a season with 12 or more consecutive wins has advanced to play for the league championship. Only three teams in league history have ended a season with more consecutive wins than the Patriots, and only one team has done so in the last 30 years (Denver, 1998). The first 11 wins in the Patriots' streak were all by 14 points or fewer, making them the first team in league history to win so many games by such a narrow margin.

MOST CONSECUTIVE WINS, SINGLE SEASON

WinsTeam, YearPlayoff Result
14Miami, 1972Won Super Bowl VII
13Chicago, 1934Lost in NFL Championship Game
Denver, 1998Won Super Bowl XXXIII
12New England, 2003
Minnesota, 1969Lost Super Bowl IV
Chicago, 1985Won Super Bowl XX

SERIES HISTORY
The Patriots and Colts will meet for the 65th time, as the former AFC East rivals square off in the playoffs for the first time. The Patriots and Baltimore/Indianapolis Colts played twice a year from 1970 to 2001 as members of the AFC East, with the exception of the 1982 strike year. New England has had more success against the Colts than any other team in the NFL, with the Patriots' .625 winning percentage ranking as their highest against any team they have played more than 10 times. New England is 14-4 against Indianapolis since 1993, and has won 11 of the series' last 13 games. New England's offense scored a total of 120 points in the last three meetings between the teams, and the Patriots have scored 20 or more points against the Colts in 12 of their last 13 meetings.

PATRIOTS 40, COLTS 24

**Date****Result****/-**
1970Baltimore 14, at NE 6 -8
at Baltimore 27, NE 3 -24
1971Baltimore 23, at NE 3 -20
NE 21, at Baltimore 17 4
1972Baltimore 24, at NE 17 -7
at Baltimore 31, NE 0 -31
1973at NE 24, Baltimore 16 8
at Baltimore 18, NE 13 -5
1974at NE 42, Baltimore 3 39
NE 27, at Baltimore 17 10
1975at NE 21, Baltimore 10 11
at Baltimore 34, NE 21 -13
1976Baltimore 27, at NE 13 -14
NE 21, at Baltimore 14 7
1977at NE 17, Baltimore 3 14
at Baltimore 30, NE 24 -6
1978Baltimore 34, at NE 27 -7
NE 35, at Baltimore 14 21
1979at Baltimore 31, NE 26 -5
at NE 50, Baltimore 21 29
1980NE 37, at Baltimore 21 16
at NE 47, Baltimore 21 26
1981Baltimore 29, at NE 28 -1
at Baltimore 23, NE 21 -2
1982NE 24, at Baltimore 13 11
1983Balt. 29, at NE 23 (OT) -6
at Baltimore 12, NE 7 -5
1984NE 50, at Indianapolis 17 33
at NE 16, Indianapolis 10 6
1985at NE 34, Indianapolis 15 19
NE 38, at Indianapolis 31 7
1986at NE 33, Indianapolis 3 30
NE 30, at Indianapolis 21 9
**Date****Result****/-**
1987at Indianapolis 30, NE 16 -14
at NE 24, Indianapolis 0 24
1988at NE 21, Indianapolis 17 4
at Indianapolis 24, NE 21 -3
1989NE 23, at Ind. 20 (OT) 3
at NE 22, Indianapolis 16 6
1990NE 16, at Indianapolis 14 2
Indianapolis 13, at NE 10-3
1991NE 16, at Indianapolis 7 9
at NE 23, Ind. 17 (OT) 6
1992NE 37, at Ind. 34 (OT) 3
Indianapolis 6, at NE 0-6
1993at Indianapolis 9, NE 6-3
at NE 38, Indianapolis 0 38
1994NE 12, at Indianapolis 10 2
at NE 28, Indianapolis 18 10
1995Indianapolis 24, at NE 10-14
at Indianapolis 10, NE 7-3
1996NE 27, at Indianapolis 9 18
at NE 27, Indianapolis 13 14
1997at NE 31, Indianapolis 6 25
NE 20, at Indianapolis 17 3
1998at NE 29, Indianapolis 6 23
NE 21, at Indianapolis 16 5
1999at NE 31, Indianapolis 28 3
at Indianapolis 20, NE 15-5
2000at NE 24, Indianapolis 16 8
at Indianapolis 30, NE 23-7
2001at NE 44, Indianapolis 13 31
NE 38, at Indianapolis 17 21
2003NE 38, at Indianapolis 34 4

SERIES TRENDS
Overall Record 40-24
Record in New England 21-10
Record in Indianapolis 13-6
Record in Baltimore 6-8
Total Points in the Series Patriots 1,497, Colts 1,147
Patriots' Largest Margin of Victory 39 points (10/6/74)
Patriots' Largest Margin of Defeat -31 points (11/26/72)
Highest Combined Point Total 72 points (11/30/03)
Lowest Combined Point Total 6 points (12/06/92)
Longest Patriots Win Streak 7 (1996-99)
Longest Colts Win Streak 3 (1970-1971)
Seasonal Sweeps Patriots 13, Colts 5
Current Streak Patriots, 14-4 since 1993

TALE OF THE TAPE

**2003 Regular Season****New England****Indianapolis**
Record14-212-4
Divisional Standings1st1st
Total Yards Gained5,0395,874
Total Offense (Rank)314.9 (17)367.1 (3)
Rush Offense100.4 (27)105.9 (19)
Pass Offense214.5 (9)261.2 (1)
Points Per Game21.827.9
Total Yards Allowed4,6664,789
Total Defense291.6 (7)299.3 (11)
Rush Defense89.6 (4)123.8 (T-20)
Pass Defense202.0 (15)175.6 (5)
Points Allowed/Game14.921.0
Possession Avg.30:5030:54
Sacks Allowed/Yards Lost32/21919/110
Sacks Made/Yards41/25331/225
Interceptions By2915
Penalties Against/Yards111/99892/662
Punts/Avg.88/37.164/41.3
Takeaway/Giveaway Ratio 17 10

SOUTHERN HOSPITALITY
The Patriots have an all-time record of 64-41-1 (.608) against the teams that make up the AFC South. It is the only division in the NFL where the Patriots own a winning record against each team. New England owns winning marks against Tennessee (20-16-1), Indianapolis (40-24) Jacksonville (4-1) and Houston (1-0). In 2003, the Patriots are 5-0 against AFC South teams, sweeping the division in the regular season and defeating Tennessee last week in an AFC Divisional Playoff Game.

WITH A WIN THIS WEEK
If the Patriots win this week, they would…
- Advance to their third Super Bowl since 1996, becoming the only team in the NFL to have won three conference championships in the last eight seasons.
- Advance to the Super Bowl for the fourth time in team history (XX, 1985; XXXI, 1996; XXXVI, 2001).
- Improve to 4-0 in AFC Championship Games. They would own the most championship game wins without a loss of any NFL team in the Super Bowl Era.

CHAMPIONSHIP PERFORMANCES
The Patriots are 3-0 in AFC Championship Games since the Super Bowl Era began following the 1966 season. The Boston Patriots played in the 1963 AFL Championship Game, played on Jan. 5, 1964. The Patriots dropped that game to the Chargers in San Diego, 51-10.
PATRIOTS IN THE AFC CHAMPIONSHIP GAME (3-0)

**Date****Opponent****Site****W/L****Score**
01/18/04IndianapolisGillette Stadium
01/27/02atPittsburghHeinz FieldW24-17
01/12/97JacksonvilleFoxboro StadiumW20-6
01/12/86atMiamiOrange BowlW31-14
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