These guys aren’t Patsies
We’ll learn how good the New England Patriots are this Sunday.
That’s a certainty. For a change, this opponent won’t have a Lemon behind center.
They might even have a few corners who will hit Randy Moss on the line of scrimmage and a pass rush that won’t give Tom Brady time to call his latest super model girlfriend from the pocket.
Most of all, the Indianapolis Colts won’t give Bill Belichick a chance to extend his unsportsmanlike conduct of running up the score.
Belichick is coaching with such a huge chip on his shoulder that he might need rotator cuff surgery in the offseason. Why else would he call for Brady to throw a fourth-quarter TD pass during a 52-7 rout of the Redskins last week? Either he’s in a vengeful mood, or he has Brady on his fantasy team.
Previously, he risked a possible injury to Brady by reinserting him in the game in the final quarter of a blowout win over Miami. Belichick even unnecessarily orchestrated the Cowboys’ worst beating in Texas since the Battle of the Alamo.
Belichick has acted like a wounded bully the past month, running up the score to the point of disrespecting his opponents – a no-no at any level. Revelation of the team’s videotaping scam embarrassed Belichick; now he is bent on embarrassing as many NFL teams as possible.
Belichick, however, will have to chill this Sunday.
How many people out there really think the Patriots will have their way with the Colts?
The oddsmakers seem to think so. New England opened as a five-point favorite at the home of the defending Super Bowl champs and the line was still climbing with each day. According to a report in the Indianapolis Star earlier in the week, there have only been five previous instances since 1988 where a Super Bowl winner has been an underdog on their own turf.
Remember the last time the Colts lost by double-digits at home with Peyton Manning under center? The Chargers almost pulled off the feat in 2005 when they spoiled the Colts’ perfect season 26-17. In fact, the Colts haven’t lost by 10 or more points at home since Denver beat them 31-17 on Dec. 21, 2003.
Does the addition of three outstanding receivers make the Patriots a better team than the Colts? I would still take Marvin Harrison, Reggie Wayne and Dallas Clark over Randy Moss, Wes Welker and Donté Stallworth. Each of the Colts’ triplets has a Super Bowl ring; not even Moss has one.
Few would dispute that the Colts have the better running back in Joseph Addai.
Ultimately, defense will decide who will win one of the biggest regular season matchups in NFL history. The Colts’ defense is quicker and tailor-made for the carpet in the RCA Dome.
The Colts have also beaten their share of solid teams with road wins at Jacksonville and Tennessee. New England’s best win is at Dallas, and I’m not sure if the Cowboys are as good as their record.
More than a hunch, Colts 31, Patriots 24.
– Tribune Sports Editor Steve Yingling can be reached at (530) 542-8010 or