Ravens vs. Patriots: Key matchups in AFC pretension game

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Matchups for a AFC championship diversion Sunday between a Indianapolis Colts and New England Patriots during Gillette Stadium:

WHEN THE COLTS (13-5) HAVE THE BALL:

Andrew Luck (12) led a NFL in TD passes with 40, and he’s proven himself as a genuine force in his 3 pro seasons. Except, that is, opposite New England. Luck stands 0-3 vs. a Patriots — a usually group he’s played some-more than once and not beaten. The Colts have been outscored 144-66 in those games.

Luck needs to be as calculating nonetheless intrepid on offense as New England total to be on a invulnerability led by NT Vince Wilfork (75), DE Rob Ninkovich (50), LB Jamie Collins (91), CB Darrelle Revis (24) and S Devin McCourty (32). The Patriots have had success treacherous Luck, who afterwards has forced passes. He’s a good curtain and competence need to take off a lot on Sunday.

RB Boom Herron (36) has been a find and a Colts need some early prolongation from him to equivocate removing one-dimensional. That means a building descent line contingency seize control; a decent using diversion will keep New England’s dangerous offense on a sideline. Key confrontations will embody dual rookies, LG Jack Mewhort (72) and C Jonotthan Harrison (75) opposite Wilfork and LB Dont’a Hightower (54).

Eventually, though, Indy has to win some of a matchups in a flitting game. Luck positively is capable, so can WRs T.Y. Hilton (13) and Hakeem Nicks (14), long-time star Reggie Wayne (87) and a slew of parsimonious ends produce?

WHEN THE PATRIOTS (13-4) HAVE THE BALL:

Bother Brady with a pass rush and someone tame Gronk.

One of a game’s all-time good winners, QB Tom Brady (12) will collect detached any invulnerability that gives him time. Brady has had improved corps of targets in his 15 seasons, though a one unmatchable arms is All-Pro TE Rob Gronkowski (87). Gronk is some-more than a confidence sweeping for Brady, he’s a diversion breaker, and a Colts will be hard-pressed to find anyone to delayed him. LB Jerrell Freeman (50) and reserve Mike Adams (29) will get a call during times, and everybody will get a shot during — or get run over by — Gronk during some point.

The best approach to delayed Gronkowski and a other receivers — Julian Edelman (11), Danny Amendola (80), Brandon LaFell (19) — is to make Brady precipitate his throws. That means producing a pass rush, that will tumble on a accumulation of defenders: rookie DE Jonathan Newsome (91), maestro LBs Erik Walden (93) and Q’Qwell Jackson (52) and DE Cory Redding (90).

New England’s blockers have been inconsistent, one reason a Patriots ranked 11th in offense. The responsibility on safeguarding Brady falls mostly on tackles Sebastian Vollmer (76) and Nate Solder (77).

Even if a Colts are winning that ditch conflict in a flitting game, they could get impressed by a Patriots on a ground. Yes, they rushed for a small 14 yards opposite Baltimore, though in a past dual games vs. a Colts, RB LeGarrette Blount (29) gained 166 yards and scored 4 TDs in final year’s local game, afterwards RB Jonas Gray (35) ran for 201 yards and 4 TDs this season.

If New England can bruise it on a ground, Indy contingency pierce CBs Vontae Davis (21) and Greg Toler (28), Adams and associate S Sergio Brown (38) in tight. Then, Brady’s eyes will light adult as he searches for his receivers.

SPECIAL TEAMS:

One slight corner in Indianapolis’ preference is here, where a Colts have All-Pros in placekicker Adam Vinatieri (4) and punter Pat McAfee (1). Vinatieri won 3 Super Bowls as a Patriot and one as Colt. He will mangle Jerry Rice’s record for many postseason games played when he competes in No. 30 on Sunday. Vinatieri also can mangle a tie with Tony Fritsch for many uninterrupted postseason games with a margin idea (13).

McAfee’s 42.8-yard normal was second in a conference, and Indy’s flog coverage is solid. New England’s Ryan Allen (6) had a net of 39.9 yards per punt.

The Patriots have a clever margin idea man in Stephen Gostkowski (3), who missed usually dual and led a NFL with 156 points. Edelman surfaced a AFC with a 12.0-yard normal on punt runbacks and scored once.

COACHING:

Bill Belichick only tied Tom Landry for postseason victories (20) and is seeking a sixth outing to a Super Bowl. Belichick keeps things uninformed by anticipating new ways to feat a opposition. Last week, it was during times putting authorised receivers during incompetent positions, ideally authorised if devious. His staff’s best coaching work this deteriorate has been finished on both lines.

Chuck Pagano’s Colts have left 11-5 in any of his 3 seasons in Indy; he missed a outrageous cube of 2012 battling leukemia. A defense-minded manager and former coordinator in Baltimore, his squads have been noted by their offense with Luck, and glorious special teams. In a matchup with Belichick, Pagano is not expected to get cute.

INTANGIBLES:

The Patriots are sleepy of discussion they haven’t won a pretension in a decade after holding 3 Super Bowls in 4 seasons (2001-04). They also get reminded they mislaid their final dual trips opposite an underdog.

New England is 8-0 in home games that meant anything, and has that 42-20 frisk during Indianapolis in a pocket.

The Colts have played an additional playoff game, that competence be good for movement with victories over Cincinnati and Denver. It also can’t be too good for freshness.

Luck’s bad record opposite a Patriots can’t be ignored, and New England has a large corner in discussion championship experience.

___

AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and http://twitter.com/AP_NFL

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