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Replay: Patriots Unfiltered Wed Jan 19 | 12:00 AM - 02:00 PM

Patriots wary of improved Colts

The New England Patriots will host Indianapolis in their home opener Sunday afternoon. After last week's last-second 30-28 win over the New York Jets, the Patriots want to ride their emotional high against the Colts.

Head Coach Pete Carroll said throughout the preseason that the first two games of the year are crucial, and he won't allow his team to look past the vastly improved Colts.

"I'm not letting us do anything but [take the Colts seriously]," Carroll said. "The film [of Indianapolis] is so obvious that you'd have to be a blind man not to see what they're capable of doing. Their defense shut down Buffalo, and we have great respect for Buffalo's offense."

In a 31-14 win over Buffalo, the Indianapolis defense held the Bills to just 47 yards rushing, which will make establishing a ground game tough for New England. Against the pass, Chad Bratzke had three sacks of Buffalo's Doug Flutie.

As impressive as the defense was, the Indianapolis offense was equally strong. In his NFL debut, rookie Edgerrin James ran for 112 yards against the Bills, despite gaining just nine yards on his first seven carries. Wide receivers Marvin Harrison and E.G. Green combined for 245 receiving yards, and quarterback Peyton Manning threw a pair of touchdowns. It was his 14th consecutive game with at least one touchdown pass.

"Their offense is very productive, and it's going to be difficult for us to keep them under wraps, Carroll said. " Hopefully they're seeing the same thing when they look at us. There is going to be a lot of offensive firepower on the field. They are real fast, and they are real strong running the ball. Harrison, what he does is strike you fast and score touchdowns. We can't let him do that.

"The message is loud and clear, and there's no way where missing this message. The Colts are good enough to beat anybody."

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