The tempo that Peyton Manning runs the Colts offense poses problems for the Pats young defense and their coaching staff. "That’s one of the real challenges of playing against the Colts." Belichick stated. "First of all, you don’t who they’re going to have on the field, but you know, whoever you put on the field, you might have to live with for 15 plays or until you can get a sub, so, that’s definitely a problem. But you don’t know for sure whether they’re going to be in two tight ends and two receivers or whether they’re going to be in three receivers and one tight end, because they mix back and forth with those groups. Sometimes they sub them in the game or sometimes they leave one group out there and if they feel they have good matchup against your defensive group - whatever that is - then they just leave it out there and they don’t let you substitute, or it’s hard to substitute, [not that] they don’t let you. But if it’s a long, incomplete pass or a run over on your sideline, [then] you can do that, but you don’t necessarily know when that’s coming. So, yeah, that’s definitely a challenge and that comes up a lot in the red area. You see them in the red area a lot of the times, they hurry to the line and the [other] team is in their dime defense on the one-yard line and it just doesn’t look very good. I’m sure that’s not what they want to be in. We’ve been there before where you have that kind of defense on the field in that field position and it’s not really what you want, but you can’t get anybody in there unless you take a timeout if you have them, depending on the situation. But, again, you hate to use your only timeouts just on the substitutions. It’s definitely a challenge. They do a real good job on that - probably as good as anybody in the league that we’ve faced - of preventing defenses from substituting on their [own] terms; you can only substitute when Indy wants to sub. They got Kansas City twice, maybe three times. [They] got Houston a couple times. They do a good job."
|Freeney and Mathis|
The Patriots have done a reasonably good job game planning the Patriot offense to minimize the opposition pass rush this season. Look for the Pats offense to try to establish the run early. This will allow them to use play action effectively, where they should be able to take advantage of Aaron Hernandez' speed to neutralize the Colts defenders. The effectiveness of Rob Gronkwski in the red zone will make the Pats other weapons more effective as the offense gets closer to the goal line. Once they have a lead late, it'll be Law Firm and Woodhead, as the Pats try to keep Manning on the bench.
Defensively, New England will most likely keep the blitzing to a minimum. This would be a different approach than the Steelers game plan, where the Pats deployed exotic blitz packages against Rothlisberger. The better plan will be to try to fool Manning with coverages. Expect a big game out of McCourty, who will no doubt be matched against the #1 Colt receiver, either Collie or Wayne, depending on their injury status. Both are listed as questionable for Sunday.
The game will come down to whether or not the Pats young players will be ready to take on future Hall of Famer Manning and the Colt offense. Expect Belichick to have them coached up and ready to beat the Colts Sunday at Gillette.