INDIANAPOLIS (4-5) vs. NEW ENGLAND (2-7) in Frankfurt, Germany
Sunday, 9:30 a.m. EST, NFL Network
BETTING LINE: Colts by 1 1/2, according to FanDuel Sportsbook.
AGAINST THE SPREAD: Colts 5-4; Patriots 2-7
SERIES RECORD: Patriots lead 53-30
LAST MEETING: Patriots beat Colts 26-3 on Nov. 6, 2022, in Foxborough, Mass.
LAST WEEK: Colts beat Panthers 27-13; Patriots lost to Commanders 20-17.
COLTS OFFENSE: OVERALL (12), RUSH (10), PASS (16), SCORING (7)
COLTS DEFENSE: OVERALL (26), RUSH (24), PASS (23), SCORING (T-28)
PATRIOTS OFFENSE: OVERALL (27), RUSH (28), PASS (21), SCORING (31).
PATRI0TS DEFENSE: OVERALL (16), RUSH (11), PASS (21), SCORING (26).
TURNOVER DIFFERENTIAL: Colts even; Patriots minus-5.
COLTS PLAYER TO WATCH: CB Kenny Moore II. Last week, the one-time Pro Bowler became the first player in franchise history to return two interceptions for touchdowns in a game and wound up being the AFC’s defensive player of the week. He could be poised for more this week with the Patriots tied for the fifth-highest interception total (nine) this season.
PATRIOTS PLAYER TO WATCH: RB Rhamondre Stevenson. He finished last week’s loss to Washington with nine carries for 87 yards for a 9.7 yards per carry average. It was the highest of his career and third time he’s had an average of at least 9 yards. If New England can establish him early it will take a lot of pressure off a passing attack that is thin with Kendrick Bourne (knee) out for the season and DeVante Parker dealing with a concussion.
KEY MATCHUP: QB Gardner Minshew vs. New England defense. Patriots coach Bill Belichick tends to find creative ways to take away opponents' strengths. This week, it would be Indy’s ground game. So Indy may need to rely more on Minshew’s arm. In his first two starts following Anthony Richardson’s season-ending shoulder injury. both losses, Minshew had eight turnovers. He’s had just one the past two weeks. So this game could be determined by how many mistakes New England forces.
KEY INJURIES: Colts right tackle Braden Smith (hip, wrist) returned to Wednesday’s walkthrough practice after missing four straight games. CB JuJu Brents (quad) WR Josh Downs (knee) and LB Zaire Franklin (knee) did not practice. Franklin, the league’s top tackler (102), did not play last week. CB Tony Brown remains in the concussion protocol and starting DT Grover Stewart will sit out for the fourth game of his six-game suspension for violating the league’s policy on performance-enhancers. ... Patriots CB J.C. Jackson (personal reasons) and LT Trent Brown (personal reasons/ankle) both sat out the first practice of the week. Parker missed last week with a concussion and remained in the protocol to start the week. LB Ja’Whaun Bentley (hamstring), CB Myles Bryant (chest), DL Christian Barmore (knee), WR Demario Douglas (ankle), CB Jonathan Jones (knee) and DL Deatrich Wise (shoulder) all began the practice week as limited participants.
SERIES NOTES: New England has won nine of the past 10 in this series with the only loss during that span coming in 2021 in Indianapolis. ... The Patriots also have had winning streaks of seven games and six games since 1996. ... These franchises had one of the league’s most heated rivalries from 2000-2015 with QBs Peyton Manning, Andrew Luck and Tom Brady sometimes playing twice a season. They also met twice a year as members of the AFC East from 1970 until Indy moved to the AFC South in 2002.
STATS AND STUFF: The Colts are playing their second regular-season game overseas, losing previously to Jacksonville 30-27 in London in 2016. Indy also has played preseason games at Mexico City in 2000 and Tokyo in 2005. ... The next victory will be No. 575 in franchise history, including postseason games. ... Indy is the only team to score 20 or more points in all nine games this season. ... Minshew has appeared in all four Colts wins, but has not thrown for more than 227 yards in any of them. ... RB Jonathan Taylor needs one TD run to pass Joseph Addai (34) for No. 4 by a Colts player in their first four seasons. ... WR Michael Pittman Jr. needs 7 yards receiving to pass his position coach, Reggie Wayne, for No. 4 among Colts receivers in their first four seasons. ... Pro Bowl DT DeForest Buckner needs two sacks to reach No. 80 in his career. ... The Colts continue to lead the NFL in tackles for loss (55) and are tied for the league lead in strip-sacks (six). ... K Matt Gay has made six field goals of 50 or more yards this season and needs one more to tie Adam Vinatieri for the second-highest single-season total in franchise history. Vinatieri won three Super Bowls with the Patriots. … The Patriots are 3-0 in regular-season games played internationally. They defeated Tampa Bay in 2009 in London, the St. Louis Rams in 2012 in London and the Oakland Raiders in 2017 in Mexico City. QB Mac Jones passed for 220 yards and a touchdown last week against the Commanders. He has 200 or more passing yards in three of his past four games. He has three TD passes in two starts against the Colts. … ST Brendan Schooler leads with NFL with 11 special teams tackles. He is coming off his third straight game with at least two special teams tackles. … P Bryce Baringer is leading the NFL with 22 punts inside the 20-yard line. … Stevenson had a 64-yard touchdown run last week against Washington. Since 1970, Laurence Maroney (2007), Sedrick Shaw (1998), Robert Edwards (1998) and Craig James (1985) are the only Patriots players with multiple 50-yard runs in a season. … The Patriots had nine sacks the previous time they played Colts, which tied for the most under Belichick. … LB Ja’Whaun Bentley had 13 tackles last week against Washington, his 12th game with 10 or more tackles. He is leading the team with 68 total tackles.
FANTASY TIP: Patriots TE Pharaoh Brown has seven catches for 170 yards for the season and is averaging 24.3 yards per catch. He has five catches this season of at least 20 yards.
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