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NFL Preview: Indianapolis Colts vs. New England Patriots

Last week, Curtis Painter ruined our day. This week, the Colts turn to Dan Orlovsky to face the mighty Patriots. Well, you pretty much know where this is going. Let's get down to business, be on the lookout for...

1. Watch the Dan Orlovsky era. Do I laugh or cry as I type those words? As a reader pointed out, Orlvosky's advanced metrics in 2008 for the 0-16 Lions were vastly superior to Painter's this year. Their raw numbers were pretty identical. No matter how Orlovsky plays this week, just remember that people were over the moon about Painter for about five minutes too. I hope he plays amazing and throws for a bazzilion yards. Just don't get too excited about anything he does. Remember Painter for a half against Kansas City. Anyone can look good for a little while.

2. Watch the what if. As bad as the Colts defense has been this year, one has to wonder if it wouldn't be any worse than the Patriots D if Manning was healthy. The Pats defense is in the bottom 10 in the league in DVOA, but is 11th in the NFL in points, thanks in part to help from one of the NFL's best offenses. The Patriots have an extremely shaky pass defense, but are still contenders in a watered down AFC. This is the year to have a weak defense in the AFC, as none of the top contenders have great passing games except for New England. Sigh.

3. Watch for 15 yards a pop. Gronkowski leads the league in DYAR and is third in DVOA and is having a massive season for the Pats. He's averaging nearly 15 yards a catch and has a catch rate over 70%. Essentially, he's dominating football. The Colts are 24th in football against Tight Ends. So you the math.

4. Watch alternative programming. If you don't have NFL Redzone, you'll be needing something else to watch in the second half of the game. NBC is airing the Winter Swimming National Championships. Or something. Telemundo is showing The Pacifier, presumably dubbed in Spanish. That'll be a hoot. Some reruns of Scrubs are on Comedy Central. I think it's the one where J.D. gets holy hell beat out of him by some pretty boy Elliot is dating. Oh wait, that's on CBS. Never mind.

5. Watch for rubbing it in. Belichick's comments were weird this week. He's proud of going 11-5 without Brady but still thinks Brady is the best? Sorry man, doesn't work that way. He hates the Colts so he's going to pour it on. He wants every point he can get. He saw what the Saints did to Indy, and he wants more. I think he gets it too.

6. Watch for not watching. I'll be traveling during the game. I had originally scheduled a speaking engagement for Sunday morning, thinking it was a night game. Mercifully, the country and I have both been spared having to watch this game. It's a good thing. I hate the sight of blood. Especially Blue Blood. Pats 65 Colts 7. (Yes, I'm serious).


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