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At the beginning of the year, the Colts vs. Patriots game looked like a good one. For the past decade this has been one of the premier rivalries in the NFL with Tom Brady and Peyton Manning facing off. This season the game won’t be so special. The Colts come in 0-11 and without Peyton Manning under center. The Patriots are taking things lightly though, and it’s business as usual for Belichick and company.
Instead of having to worry about Peyton Manning, the Patriots defense will face Dan Orlovsky, the former UCONN quarterback. For a Patriots defense that is one of the worst in the league, they’ve been lucky the past few weeks. Sunday will mark the third straight game that Patriots have faced a backup quarterback.
First it was Tyler Palko filling in for former Patriot, Matt Cassel two weeks ago against Kansas City. Last week they faced Vince Young filling in for the injured Michael Vick in a blowout over Philadelphia. This week they face Orlovsky who is the backup to the backup Curtis Painter, who has been benched due to ineffectiveness.
New England figures to have an easy game as they continue on their quest for the number one seat in the AFC. ”They’ve heard me talk about every week, saying we don’t care about the record and we don’t. What difference does it make? How someone played two weeks ago against somebody else — who cares?” coach Bill Belichick said. “The only thing that matters is how we and the Colts perform against each other on Sunday.”
Tom Brady and the NFL’s highest scoring offense should have no issues this week against a Colts defense that ranks among the league’s worst. Though only surrendering 238.7 yards per game in the air, Tom Brady should be able to do his work and pick apart the Colts secondary.
The Patriots are coming off a game with their more balanced display of offense. Brady was 24 of 34 for 361 yards and three touchdowns, and the team rushed for 104 yards on a season high 36 carries.
New England will look to continue to improve their running game facing a Colts defense that is ranked 31st against the run surrendering 150.6 yards per game.
“I thought it was more balanced,” Brady said. “That’s how it needs to be, you got to run it. You got to throw it to everybody and you got to keep them off balance.”
Orlovsky will have his hands full trying to keep up with the high scoring Patriots. Being the third quarterback to be under center for the Colts this season he understands he can’t force the issue.
“I’m not going to be Superman or anything like that,” Orlovsky said. “I’m just going to run the offense, try to get us in good situations, try to move the chains and go from there. … I’m excited about the opportunity and appreciative of it.”
The Colts offense has only scored 29 points and put up 721 yards of offense the past three games so he can’t do any worse.
To make things worse for the Colts, their banged up defense got a change as linebacker coach Mike Murphy is now in charge of the defense.
“Obviously, it’s going to be very, very difficult to say you’re going to see a wholesale change (on defense) in three days,” Caldwell said. “But I do think that you’re going to see effort, hustle and good, sound principles and practices, and football in the way in which we know how to play. We just expect to be better in all areas.”
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