This week’s Indianapolis Colts- New England Patriots game was supposed to be a prime time affair featuring two of the most successful franchises of the past decade. The Patriots held up their end of the bargain and are in the hunt for the top seed in the AFC at 8-3 while the Colts stagger into December still searching for their first win of the year. Not surprisingly, this was flexed out of prime time and now the only people who have to watch this game are Patriots fans, Colts fans, and masochists.
The Orlovsky Era Begins
Usually the talk in the week before this game is all about Tom Brady vs. Peyton Manning. Who’s the better quarterback? Who’s more valuable to his team? Whose legacy will be greater? Not this time. This Sunday’s matchup will feature a slightly less titillating matchup. Two-time MVP Brady will try to out duel Dan Orlovsky, making his first start with the Colts. Orlovsky replaces Curtis Painter in the lineup, who failed every opportunity to prove himself as the heir to the Manning throne. Orlovsky sports an unimpressive 0-7 record as a starting quarterback in the NFL. All his previous starts were with the winless 2008 Detroit Lions. It wouldn’t appear Orlovsky give Colts much reason for optimism, though he does have one statistic riding in his favor. While Manning is 4-8 versus Brady’s Patriots, Orlovsky has yet to lose to them.
If this game is going to be close, and it probably won’t, the best chance the Colts have is to take to the air. No one in the NFL gives up more passing yards than the Patriots, who surrender 307.5 yards per game. In theory, the Colts have the weapons to exploit the Patriot secondary. Wide receiver Reggie Wayne and Tight End Dallas Clark were in the Pro Bowl not too long ago. The Colts average 181 yards per game, good enough for 28th in the league. Maybe the quarterback change will allow those weapons to finally do some damage.
Belichick vs. Caldwell
Perhaps the biggest mismatch on the field will be the coaching matchup between Bill Belichick and Jim Caldwell. Belichick has mastered the art of getting the most out his players and creating game plans that take advantage of his opponent’s weakness. Jim Caldwell has not. Caldwell is not cut out to be a head coach. He always has this confused look on his face that seems to be asking: “How did I get here?” Your guess is as good as ours, Jim.