The Colts and Patriots will face off in the playoffs for the fourth time in the last decade and while many of the faces have changed over the years, the matchup remains similar. Tom Brady will once again lead the Patriots, but this time it will be Andrew Luck on the other side.
Luck notched the first playoff win of his career last week, leaving him only 16 behind Brady. He can inch one win closer on Saturday, although the Colts may need to get off to a better start than last week. Luck and the Colts went down 38-10 to Kansas City before mounting the second-biggest playoff comeback in NFL history en route to a 45-44 win.
Statistically the Colts and Patriots are very similar. Indianapolis holds a slight offensive edge in yards per play — 5.5 vs. 5.4 — and yards per point — 13.8 vs. 13.9. The Patriots hold slim defensive advantages in both areas. At least on paper, it should be an even matchup. If a close game ensues, Indianapolis could have the advantage despite Brady and his Touchdown Tom heroics.
Luck led the Colts on 11 regular season game-winning drives since the start of last season and the Colts are a terrific second-half team. They finished fifth in the NFL in second-half scoring offense and fourth in defense, improving on both marks as the season went along. The Patriots were second in second-half scoring, but 17th in defense.
The winner will either travel to Denver to face the Broncos or host the Chargers in the AFC Championship.