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Patriots 3 Things to watch for

1 Fourth-and-2 all over again?

Newsflash: Peyton Manning is awesome. If the Colts are going to win this game, it will be behind him.

Everybody knows it, especially Bill Belichick. The more Manning is off the field, the better off the Patriots are. That’s why, last season, Belichick elected to go for it on fourth down, with a lead, late in the game, deep in his own territory. If that isn’t respect, nothing is. Armchair coaches debated the call for the rest of the season, but you can bet if a similar situation arises this Sunday, Belichick won’t think twice about going for it again.

2 Field goals aren’t going to do it

Since the 2000 season, the Pats have scored 20 or more points against Indy in 19 of 21 meetings.

New England is averaging 28.7 ppg, tops in the league this season. But they give up an average of 23.8 ppg, 25th in the league.

The Colts’ offense averages 26.7 ppg, but they’re banged up.

Manning will be looking to throw early and often with injuries to RBs Joseph Addai (neck) and Mike Hart (ankle). Of course, if Colts WRs Reggie Wayne (knee) and Austin Collie (concussion) are limited, the Pats will dodge a bullet.

3 Under pressure, part the second

The Pats put a ton of pressure on Ben Roethlisberger last Sunday. They sacked him five times, knocked him around all game and even returned an interception for a TD.

A lot of that success was due to multiple blitz packages. But Big Ben doesn’t audible at the line the way Manning does, and the Colts QB might confuse the Pats — a team that’s ranked 30th in defending the pass.

Will Manning’s presnap reads do in a potentially vulnerable defensive corps?

 
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