|Television:||TThis week's game will be broadcast regionally on CBS (locally on WBZ Channel 4 in Boston). Greg Gumbel will provide play-by-play detail alongside broadcast partners Phil Simms. Armen Keteyian will report from the sidelines.|
|Radio:||WBCN's Rock Radio Network 104.1 FM. Gil Santos, the voice of the Patriots, will call all the action along with Gino Cappelletti, his broadcast partner for 16 years.|
|Patriots Monday:||Patriots Monday, from 4pm-7pm every Monday (WNRB-AM 1510 or through Patriots.com) with hosts Butch Stearns and Jim Donaldson. Guests include Drew Bledsoe, Pete Carroll, Ty Law, Henry Thomas and others.|
The New England Patriots (7-5) will travel to Indianapolis this weekend to take on the division leading Colts, who are 10-2 and enjoying the league's second-longest win streak with eight consecutive wins. The Colts last loss was a 34-31 defeat vs. Miami on Oct. 10. The Patriots dealt the Colts their only other loss of the season, a 31-28 decision at Foxboro Stadium on Sept. 19. The Colts took a 21-0 lead in that game and held a 21-point lead late in the third quarter before the Patriots rallied to score 24 unanswered points in just 19 minutes.
The Patriots enter the 14th week of the season in the all-too-familiar position of being 7-5 after 12 games. But, if history is any indicator, expect the Patriots to defeat the Colts en route to their fourth consecutive playoff appearance. In each of the last two seasons, the Patriots started 6-5, but rebounded to win games in Weeks 13 and 14 to improve to 8-5. In 1997, a 20-17 victory over the Colts helped propel the Patriots to a 10-6 record and their second consecutive division title. Last year, the Patriots improved to 8-5 before Bledsoe was sidelined with a broken finger. The Patriots finished 9-7, qualifying for the playoffs for a franchise record third consecutive season.
Drew Bledsoe is 10-2 as a starter vs. the Colts and has thrown 21 touchdowns with just nine interceptions in his 12 starts. In his last seven games in the series, his touchdown to interception ratio is a whopping 16:1 and the Patriots won each of those seven games. A victory over the Colts this week would extend the Patriots series streak to eight games and help them keep pace in the AFC East playoff race.
This week's game will feature Indianapolis' second-ranked offense vs. the Patriots' 10th ranked defense. Through 12 games, the Colts are averaging 28.7 points per game, the third-highest average in the league. The Patriots, on the other hand, are allowing just 18.7 points per game defensively, while scoring over 20 points per game.
Since quarterback Drew Bledsoe arrived in 1993, the Patriots have made a habit of heating up while the temperatures have cooled down in the month of December. They lead the AFC with 16 victories in December, including last week's, 13-6 win over the Dallas Cowboys. The top win totals among AFC teams since 1993 are listed below:
|New England Patriots||16||8||.667|
Bledsoe has played in 22 regular season games and one playoff game during the month of December and has been victorious in 70% (16-7) of those games. Listed below are his regular season statistics during the 12th month of the year.
The New England Patriots and the Indianapolis Colts will meet this Sunday for the 59th time in series history. Their rivalry dates back to 1970, when the Baltimore Colts defeated the Patriots 14-6 at Harvard Stadium. The Patriots have won the last seven games of the series, establishing their longest winning streak of the series. Their previous high was six games from 1984 to 1986.
Since the Colts moved to Indianapolis in 1984, the Patriots have had their number, winning 24 of 31 games.
The Patriots currently own a seven-game winning streak against the Colts, their second longest win streak against any team. The Patriots have swept the seasonal series versus the Colts the past three seasons. The last time the Colts defeated the Patriots was Dec. 23, 1995, 10-7, in the final game of the regular season. The Colts advanced to the playoffs, but were defeated in the AFC Championship game. The Patriots longest current winning streak is nine games against the San Diego Chargers dating back to 1970.
The Patriots scored 24 unanswered points and overcame a 21-point third quarter deficit to defeat the Indianapolis Colts 31-28 in their 1999 home opener. Patriots quarterback Drew Bledsoe threw for 299 yards and four touchdowns, including two to tight end Ben Coates, to lead the Patriots' second half comeback. Bledsoe conducted three fourth quarter scoring drives, including the final seven-play, 29-yard excursion, which resulted in a 26-yard game-winning Adam Vinatieri field goal.
The opportunistic Patriots forced four Colt turnovers and converted them into 17 points, including the game-winning field goal. Safety Chris Carter intercepted two passes, cornerback Ty Law and linebacker Tedy Bruschi each forced fourth quarter fumbles.
It was a tale of two halves for the Colts who were running on all cylinders in the first half, but stalled out in the second. Indianapolis outscored the Patriots 28-7 in the first half. Colts' quarterback Peyton Manning completed 14 of 17 passes for 209 yards and three touchdowns in the first half all to wide receiver Marvin Harrison. Unfortunately for Indianapolis, there were still 30 minutes yet to be played.
In the second half, the Patriots defense limited Manning to four completions on 13 attempts for a paltry 14 yards. Harrison caught just one pass of five yards.
The Patriots rushing attack gained 108 yards on 27 carries (4.0 average) against a Colts defense which limited Buffalo to only 47 yards rushing in the first week of the season. Veteran running back, Terry Allen, who was signed by the Patriots on Aug. 27, led the team with 74 yards rushing on 15 carries (4.9 avg.) and also caught two passes for eight yards, including an 8-yard touchdown. New England was able to convert two third downs in the fourth quarter with their rushing attack. Running back Lamont Warren gained seven yards on 3rd-and-4 and Allen rushed for three yards up the middle on 3rd and 2. Each conversion kept a Patriots' touchdown drive alive.
Patriots quarterback Drew Bledsoe, the first overall pick in 1993, will face off this week against last year's number one, Peyton Manning for the fourth time in their careers. Bledsoe has yet to lose to Manning, winning all three meetings.
They are two of 10 signal callers to be drafted first overall since the AFL/NFL merger in 1970. Bledsoe, has earned three Pro Bowl appearances and a start in the Super Bowl prior to entering his seventh NFL season. This year, the pair have garnered the top two vote totals among all AFC quarterbacks in this year's fan Pro Bowl voting (Manning 99,183 votes and Bledsoe 59,369 votes).
Through the first 13 weeks of the season, this week's opposing quarterbacks, Patriots' Drew Bledsoe and Colts' Peyton Manning lead the NFL in numerous passing categories. They are the only two AFC quarterbacks who have eclipsed the 3,000-yard mark this season. Manning leads with 3,212 yards and Bledsoe is second with 3,066. Bledsoe leads the AFC with 400 passing attempts and trails Manning with 226 completions and 17 touchdowns.
|New York Jets||4||8||0||.333|