Even before the current NFL season started, football fans had November 4th marked on their calendars. It was the date that everyone was looking forward to, because it would mark the rematch between the New England Patriots and the reigning Super Bowl champion Indianapolis Colts. As the season progressed, this rivalry got progressively more heated and ultimately a heck of a lot more interesting. You see, it’s Week 9 in 2007-2008 NFL season and this is the latest in the season ever that two undefeated teams are playing against one another.
Peyton Manning and the Colts overcame their NFL playoff curse last year when they won Super Bowl XLI. That’s not to discount the strength of Tom Brady and the Patriots, of course, because that team is no stranger to hoisting up the Vince Lombardi Trophy.
There’s a lot of talk going around about a perfect season. As it stands, the Indianapolis Colts and the New England Patriots are the only undefeated teams remaining in the NFL this season and that’s going to change in a few hours. In terms of who I think is going to win, let’s break it down by a few critical positions:
Quarterback: This is undeniably the position that everyone is looking at. Underlying the rivalry between the Colts and the Pats is the rivalry (and respect) between Tom Brady and Peyton Manning. Although Brady has more Super Bowl rings, I feel that Peyton Manning is the best quarterback in the game today. Brett Favre of the Green Bay Packers is doing great, but he’s known to take a lot of unnecessary risks. By contrast, Peyton has exceptional playcalling abilities and playmaking capabilities, as well as exceptional field vision and awareness. Tom Brady is pretty great, but Manning is better. +1 for the Colts.
Running Backs: Joseph Addai of the Colts isn’t exactly an elite running back in the league. It’s only because he’s on the Colts that he can be mentioned in the same breath as guys like LaDainian Tomlinson and Adrian Peterson. That said, he’s enough of an offensive threat that the opposing defensive unit has to pay attention, opening up more opportunities for Peyton to make some amazing plays. By contrast, I don’tthink all too many people pay respect to Sammy Morris and Laurence Maroney of the Pats. They’re average at best. +1 for the Colts.
Wide Receivers: With Peyton’s favorite target Marvin Harrison suffering a questionable knee injury, the Colts are left with Reggie Wayne and Dallas Clark. Wayne is alright, I guess, but when you take a glance at the Patriots, Tom Brady is looking down the field at Randy Moss. Randy isn’t nearly as randy as he was years ago, meaning that he is much more of a team player and he has been a huge part of the Patriots success thus far this year. Brady’s got a huge weapon and his name is Randy Moss. +1 for the Pats.
Defence: When people look at the undefeated records of these two teams, they figure that it’s due to their high-powered offensive units. They place most of the credit on the shoulders of Tom Brady and Peyton Manning. They may be right to do so, but you also have to look at the other side of the ball. In this respect, I’m inclined to give the advantage to the Patriots, thanks to headliners like Teddy Bruschi and Asante Samuel, as well as veteran leadership from Junior Seau. They can and will shut you down. +1 for the Pats.
X Factor: It’s going to be a close game, that’s for sure. It’s going to be a high scoring game, that’s more than likely. What this is going to come down to is a certain X factor that simply cannot be defined. Setting the recent controversy surrounding the New England Patriots behind, you’ll also notice that the football squad has been absolutely destroying their competition this year, beating teams by way more than 17 points. They don’t let up and I feel this tenacity just might be enough to carry them up and over the Colts. +1 for the Pats.
VERDICT: It’s hard to choose between these two teams because they are absolutely in their prime. They’re probably the most complete NFL squads in the league and they’ve got the two best quarterbacks in the league to lead the charge. Based on the analysis above I predict that the Patriots will squeak by the Colts (3-2), though I don’t expect them to win by much more than a touchdown. I’d imagine the Vegas over/under on this game is pretty huge too.
New England Patriots 45 – Indianapolis Colts 37
Kickoff is in about 10 or 15 minutes. Whether my prediction is correct or not, it’s going to be one heck of a game to watch.