Very few people are picking the Colts to beat the Patriots this weekend, but you have to sense that Luck likes being in this situation. The Colts have already doubled their win total from last year with Luck under center, and he is meeting or exceeding expectations every week. Even with a 6-3 record, the Colts are recognized as a better team, but not a contender, and a contender has to go into New England and beat the Patriots. The Patriots are also 6-3, but they are 5-1 at home, and that could make a difference in the outcome. The Colts have scored 186 points and given up 206 points this season, compared to the Patriots who have scored 299 points and given up 201. Tom Brady and the Patriots’ offense bring a much more balanced attack for the Colts’ defense to deal with, and they won’t be able to just focus on Brady’s passing game.
So how do the Colts establish that they are contenders? Luck needs to be able to get first downs and keep the New England offense off the field. When the Colts have the opportunity to score points in the red zone, they need to walk off the field with TD's rather than FG's. The Colts' defense has to mix up their looks to try and confuse Tom Brady, while at the same time find ways to get pressure on him. Look for the Colts to try to make the Patriots one dimensional and take away their running game.
With both teams coming off of wins last week, watch how Luck handles the pressure of matching the New England offense, especially in the hostile atmosphere of Gillette Stadium. It will be interesting to see if Brady can stay patient and keep a balanced attack, or if the Patriots will try to strike quickly and put pressure on the rookie. This should be a great match up between two talented offenses, and it will give us an idea if Luck can make the Colts contenders.