SUNDAY SUNDAY SUNDAY! A Graphical Preview of Colts vs. Patriots

Stewade

Colts vs. Patriots. Luck vs. Brady. THE GAME OF THE MILLENNIUM (of the week).

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Great Man Theory

Not so long ago, Colts-Patriots games carried weighty historical significance. Two of the game's greatest quarterbacks pushing and pulling their teams toward a February prize. Three hours spent debunking the debunking of the "Great Man theory" of history, a treat for any 1840s nostaligist confused by dialectical materialism.

We picked this year's Manning-Brady showdown as the game of the millennium of the week earlier this season. It was a let down. Historical memory has its limits. This week's game of the millennium is Brady versus Andrew Luck, that Colts guy. It could make for some fascinating revisionism.

Overcoming a slow start to the year, New England followed a simple recipe to win five of its last six games: score touchdowns, lots and lots of touchdowns. Brady and his offensive super group are averaging more than 36 points per game over that stretch, twice exploding for more than 40 points.

Overwhelming opponents on the score board is an easy formula for overcoming a crummy defense. It's also prone to making historical footnotes like Ryan Fitzpatrick look like a sort of great man. Bill Belichick rode that formula to a Super Bowl appearance last season.

Without Manning, Indianapolis was relegated to the heap of forgotten small market franchises, i.e. everywhere that's not Green Bay. Fortunate son Jim Irsay stopped tweeting long enough to realize that silver spoon in his mouth needed an occasional buffing. In came a new, competent front office and coaching staff. More importantly, some congenial egghead from Stanford arrived.

Just how important has Andrew Luck been to reviving the Colts' fortunes? Indianapolis has a minimum of defense and a paucity of offensive talent beyond Reggie Wayne. Yet, the Colts have a 6-3 record and five wins in the last six games, just like the Patriots.

The script says the Patriots score 40 points while holding the Colts to a mere 30 or so. The rookie quarterback, the first pick in the draft, has four game-winning drives. His heroics felled the mighty Packers. Knocking off the Patriots doesn't seem so far fetched. Great man theory means nothing when it comes to social upheaval, but it might be the only thing that can explain the Colts.

Colts win, 37-31

Cast of Characters

Arian Foster

Tom Brady, Dreamboat Forever

He's dreamy, he's a winner, and seriously he's just so dreamy. It's awful.

Wade Phillips

Stevan Ridley, Random Patriots Running Back

No team's done more to kill the running back position than the Patriots, who plug in a new anonymous and completely disposable "star" every single year. Enjoy the ride, Stevan Ridley!

JJ Watt

Aqib Talib, Defendant

Remember, Aqib Talib (and his mom) don't play games on these streets (allegedly). So excited to have him playing a central role on a contender over the next few months.

Ed reed

Andrew Luck, Kingpin

What's the greatest trick the devil ever pulled? Convincing the world he was a nerdy quaterback prodigy, and not the last real Don in America and a gangster moving more weight than Afghanistan. Andrew Luck has all the intangibles you look for in a young quarterback? Motherf**ker Andrew Luck will straight up stab you. He shot up a Palo Alto elementary school over a turf war when he was moving weight at Stanford. Only dude to ever step to him in the Bay Area was Al Davis, and look what happened. LOOK WHAT HAPPENED. Bottom line: Luck don't give a f**k, y'all.

Ray Rice

Wide Receiver

Hey so he's still in the league. Alright!

Terrell Suggs

Andrew Luck, The New Escobar

Can you name any other Colts players? No? Okay then.

LOCALE: Boston

Boston makes its second appearance as home field this season, so forget the basics.

- Boston is the only place in the known universe to have suffered a molasses flood, which in 1919 exploded from a fifty foot tall tank containing 2.3 million gallons of the sugary tar, rushed at an estimated speed of 35 miles per hour through the streets of the North End, and killed 21 people while taking out chunks of elevated train track.

- Produced both Dane Cook and Louis C.K.. We're even for now, Boston.

- Master Chief was the first governor of Massachusetts, and is memorialized by a statue in the center of the city.

Baseball is still more popular than football, making it the best 21st century sports town of the 20th century.

This is literally everything known about the city of Boston, and let's start having football games somewhere else.

Ask the Locals: Pats

what to watch for

Will the Patriots’ secondary ever get better? No, seriously.

Do names like Sterling Moore, Antwaun Molden, James Ihedigbo and Sergio Brown ring a bell to anyone? If you asked me that question any time before the fall of last year, I’d have told you they were all sackers at a local supermarket or serving clam chowder at one of our local Boston restaurants. In reality, all four were playing defensive back for the New England Patriots. In the NFL. And eventually, in the Super Bowl. I kid you not. These men were part of what would go down as the second worst passing defense in the entire 92-year history of the National Football League. This year, folks in New England expected some sort of massive improvement in the performance of the secondary. I mean, they did go out and acquire high-priced all-pro safety Steve Gregory over the offseason, so how could you blame ‘em??! Much to the chagrin of fans in New England, the secondary just seems to be getting worse and worse every single week. Last Sunday, in a game where the offense scored 37 points, the Patriots would have lost in the final minute if not for Ryan Fitzpatrick being Ryan Fitzpatrick. Will the secondary ever improve? Maybe the day Jim Irsay starts to tweet in comprehensible English.

onside kick

The Present vs. The Future

Seriously, how lucky – pun intended – is Jim Irsay and the entire Colts organization? Less than two months after releasing a living legend who’d quarterbacked his team to 14 – okay, 13, we won’t count 2011 – successful seasons, Irsay was able to draft his heir apparent, a man whose often been compared to Tom Brady and other NFL greats. The Stanford Cardinal (best mascot in all of sports, by the way) product has already tripled Indy’s win total of a year ago and seems to be well on his way to NFL superstardom. This week, he’ll get his first crack at the man he may soon supplant as the face of the National Football League, Tom Brady. This game’s got the makings of an instant classic written all over it and will give Patriots’ fans their first taste of the future of the NFL. While Boston sports radio hosts toil over the Ryan Mallett’s and Brian Hoyer’s of the world in a search for Brady’s heir to the throne, the Colts had another 15-year franchise signal caller fall gracefully into their laps. Perhaps having a horseshoe for a logo really does pay off.

Ask the Locals: Colts

Harbaugh head explosion

Indianapolis still hates New England, right?

Absolutely. The Colts-Patriots rivalry was about so much more than Manning vs. Brady. Before the two franchises became linked in their decade-long rivalry over who had the best QB, they were rivals in the old AFC East, fighting over who would be the worst in the division. Now, it's the battle between the quarterback with GQ looks, and the one who may actually be a caveman. On top of that, Indianapolis and New England couldn't be more diametrically opposed if you put Indianapolis at the North Pole and Boston right in the middle of Antarctica. This is about two completely different ways of life. Just look at their film histories: Indiana gave us Hoosiers, Boston gave us The Town. If it wasn't for Larry Bird, Indianapolis and Boston wouldn't be able to agree on anything.

onside kick

Where does Chuck Pagano's postgame speech rank in all-time inspiring Indiana speeches?

Most people would be tempted to put Pagano's speech right at the top after their big win over Miami. Clearly, he's done a great job of getting the Colts to rally in his absence. But let's not forget, the Colts share Indiana with Notre Dame who has plenty of inspiring speeches to pick from. And let's not forget Hoosiers took place there as well, so they need some consideration. Right now, I'd put Pagano's speech as the fourth best-speech in Indiana history. Third goes to the slow clap speech in Hoosiers, because of it's lasting legacy in filmmaking. The second best speech has to be the "Win One For the Gipper" which is super-cheesy, but always gets the job done, even after all these years. Of course, first place goes to Jim Mora's Playoffs?!?! rant. You can argue that it's not really a speech and it's not all that inspiring but it still can't be topped.

Assessing the Bodily Injuries

1. Colts TE Coby Fleener, Shoulder, out

One part of the Colts rookie tight end duo will not play. But Andrew Luck and Co. are 2-0 in his absence so life goes one for Indy.

2. Colts LB Robert Mathis, Back, probably

Bad news for Tommy Brady as Robert Mathis and Dwight Freeney will be together again on Sunday. How much he'll be able to play is the question.

3. Patriots TE Aaron Hernandez, Ankle, maybe

Limited to just four games this season, Hernandez was expected to play last week, but ended up sitting.

4. 19 other Patriots, probably will play

Sneaky Bill Belichick. Instead of hiding injuries and potentially being fined, like the Ravens' John Harbaugh, he just throws everyone on his injury report. The Patriots have 20 players on the injury report, nearly 40 percent of their roster.

Gentlemen, Place Your Bets

Statgasm: Two Sandwiches, Max

In 140-character Conclusion...

AROUND THE TWITTERVERSE
@MattPomPom
‪@JasonLisk

Bill Belichick has deferred 33 of 33 times since Brady's injury in 2008, maybe he is on to something?

@Manningham49ers
@BillBarnwell

Nothing's more fun than watching a 30-second ad on http://NFL.com to get to a 10-second clip of a play that's mislabeled and incorrect

@billbarnwell
‎‏‪@ChrisBurke_SI

Have to do the math, but it's possible that losing moves Miami closer to a playoff spot in the AFC. #TipYourWaitress

@RealSkipBayless
@JayGlazer

Hey @Sportscenter just to clear up confusion, my last name is not spelled S-O-U-R-C-E. Unless my mom got it wrong all these years

@CamInman
‎‏‪‪@BillSimmons

You can't leave Matt Cassel this much time. Oh wait, you totally can. My bad.

@sportsguy33
‎‏‪@BillSimmons

The plot for every "Real Housewives" episode: one wife threw a party and invited every other wife except one... and now there's bitterness.

Footer credits stewade cuppycup
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