Week 5 of the NFL season kicks off with a matchup between the New England Patriots and the Indianapolis Colts. Kickoff is set for 8:20 EST on Thursday, October 4 at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Massachusetts. Fans can watch the game on either Fox or the NFL Network.
The Patriots have opened as 10-point favorites at home. The over/under for the game is set at an ambitious 52.5 points. Be sure to check out a full list of the Week 5 NFL odds.
After a sluggish 1-2 start to the season, we appeared to see the real Patriots finally show up in Week 4. New England dominated the Dolphins at home to the tune of 38-7. There’s every chance that game woke up the Patriots. However, they displayed plenty of vulnerabilities and weaknesses during the first three weeks of the season, so the Patriots may not be out of the woods yet.
Meanwhile, the Colts have endured a rough September that has included one gut-wrenching loss after another. In Week 3, Indy was just a few minutes away from stealing a road win against the Super Bowl champion Eagles. Last week, the Colts came back from 18 points down against the Texans in the 2nd half to tie the game and then take a lead in overtime, only to suffer a devastating loss.
Frank Reich took a lot of heat for the loss to Houston for risking a loss while trying to avoid a tie, which is exactly what happened. That loss has Indy at 1-3 despite a reasonable -6 point differential. With three of their next four games on the road, the Colts are approaching a point of desperation, especially with two teams in their division already two games ahead of them.
Back in the days of Tom Brady and Peyton Manning, these two teams had quite a rivalry. Obviously, things have cooled down in recent years, as Indianapolis hasn’t beaten New England since Manning left town. Andrew Luck is 0-5 in his career in five games against Brady with the Patriots out-scoring the Colts by an average of nearly 25 points in those games. Needless to say, now would be a good time for the Colts to turn the tables on New England.
I hate eating the points in this game, especially since the Colts have been competitive in all of their games and are a handful of plays away from being 4-0 and the talk of the league. However, I have a bad feeling about a short week and a trip to New England. I can see the frustration of their slow start getting the better of them against the Patriots, who are usually at their best at home, so I’ll swallow the points and lean toward New England to cover.
One of my concerns with the Colts is Luck, despite having his best game of the season last week. Against the Texans, Luck threw for over 450 yards and four touchdowns with no interceptions. However, he also threw the ball 62 times, which is what concerns me. On a short week, I can’t help but worry about Luck’s ability to bounce back after having to throw that many times. There have already been questions raised about his arm strength, and so excessive pass attempts could be a concern as well. It doesn’t help that T.Y. Hilton could miss the game after getting hurt last week.
Adding to the concern is the fact that the Colts still don’t have much of a run game. Marlon Mack has only played one game this season, and it just so happened to be the game the Colts won. The rest of the time it’s been the rookie tandem of Jordan Wilkins and Nyheim Hines. Those two are both averaging less than four yards per carry on the season, and there are few signs that things are getting any better. The Patriots have been a little vulnerable against the run this season, but not enough to make me think the Colts will find consistent success.
Obviously, the Indianapolis defense will also be a concern this week while going against Brady and the Patriots. The Colts have been better defensively than you’d think for a 1-3 team, but they still have to face Brady and a New England offense that put 38 points on the board last week. There’s a chance Rob Gronkowski sits this one out due to injury. However, Brady is starting to build a rapport with Josh Gordon, who is a potential difference maker any time he actually makes it onto the field. Julian Edelman also returns from his suspension this week, so Brady will have his security blanket back.
The New England running game also showed signs of life last week. With multiple injuries at the running back position, rookie Sony Michel took the reigns and rushed for over 100 yards against Miami. There’s no guarantee Michel can repeat that performance against an Indy defense that’s been tough against the run this year. But if New England gets a competent rushing attack, they could be close to unstoppable offensively.
Again, it’s tough going against the Colts being able to cover 10 points after all of their games have been close and competitive. However, going to New England for a prime-time game is another animal. I think the Colts run into a wall and end up losing in blowout fashion on Thursday night.