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Pre-Game Report

New England (1-0), Indianapolis Colts (1-0)Sunday, Sept. 19, 1999, 1:00 p.m. ETat Foxboro Stadium

Where can you catch the game?

Television:This week's game will be broadcast nationally on CBS (locally on WBZ Channel 4 in Boston). Gus Johnson will provide play-by-play detail alongside Brent Jones.
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.

The New England Patriots (1-0) return home this week to host the Indianapolis Colts (1-0) in a battle for first place in the AFC East.

A victory over the Colts would give the Patriots their second 2-0 start in three years and only the fifth 2-0 start in franchise history. It would also extend two current win streaks for the team. The Patriots enter this week's game having won each of their last four home openers and currently own a six-game win streak over the Colts. A victory would also give the Patriots a 2-0 record within the division and a two-game lead over the loser of this week's Jets vs. Bills matchup.

A loss would drop the Patriots to 1-1 and put the Patriots a game behind the Colts within the division race. The last time the Colts opened the season 2-0 was in 1996. That season, the Colts won their first four games and still led the division with a 5-1 record after first six games. They finished the season 9-7 and qualified for the playoffs. It was the last time the Colts have been to the playoffs.

Historically, the Patriots have enjoyed their greatest divisional success against the Colts, boasting a .614 winning percentage (35-22 overall record) in a series that began in 1970. The Patriots have won six straight, dating back to 1996, and nine of the last 11 games in the series. Since the Colts moved to Indianapolis in 1984, the Patriots have won 23 of 30 games (.767).

Last week, the Patriots claimed a 30-28 victory over the defending division champion New York Jets at the Meadowlands. Drew Bledsoe earned Player of the Game honors after completing 21 of 30 passes for 340 yards and a touchdown. He led the Patriots on a 10-play, 44-yard drive late in the game to put Adam Vinatieri in position to kick the game-winning 23-yard field goal. It was his third field goal of the day and the fifth game-winning kick of his career.

The Colts were led by Peyton Manning, who completed 21 of 33 passes for 284 yards and two touchdowns in their 31-14 victory over the Buffalo Bills. Marvin Harrison caught eight passes, including both touchdown tosses, for 121 yards and rookie running back Edgerrin James debuted with 112 yards and a touchdown on 26 carries to power the Colts past the Bills.

SERIES HISTORY

The New England Patriots and the Indianapolis Colts will meet this Sunday for the 58th 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 six games of the series, tying their longest winning streak of the series (six from 1984 to 1986).

This will be the third consecutive season the Patriots have played the Colts in the second game of the season. Last year the Patriot defense forced four turnovers, three interceptions and one fumble, including cornerback Ty Law's 59-yard interception return for a touchdown and defeated the Colts 29-6.

CONSECUTIVE WINS

The Patriots currently own a six-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.

PATRIOTS VERSUS THE AFC EAST

Since Pete Carroll took over the coaching responsibilities of the Patriots in 1997, the Patriots have put together the best record within the division, including a 4-0 mark against the Colts and 3-1 regular season records against Jimmy Johnson's Miami Dolphins and the Buffalo Bills. With Sunday's win over the Jets, the Patriots are now 12-5 within the division since 1997.

WLTPct.
New England Patriots1250.706
New York Jets980.529
Buffalo Bills980.529
Miami Dolphins880.500
Indianapolis Colts4130.236

BEAST OF THE EAST

This will be the third time in the last six years that the Patriots have opened the regular season against two division rivals. Last week the Patriots defeated the New York Jets, 30-28 and will clash with the Colts this weekend.

In 1994 and 1996 the Patriots opened the season with games at Miami, followed by Buffalo. Both years, the Patriots lost both games, yet still qualified for the playoffs each year. In 1994, the Patriots finished 10-6. In 1996, the Patriots claimed the division title with an 11-5 record.

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