Colts QB Andrew Luck and Patriots QB Tom Brady do battle in the playoffs again, this time with a trip to the Superbowl on the line.
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Tom Brady and the New England Patriots take on Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts in the AFC Championship Game with a trip to Superbowl XLIX on the line.
Four the fourth straight year the Patriots are in the AFC Championship Game, but this year’s trip has had much more to do with the new-and-improved defense led by All-Pro CB Darrelle Revis, who has typically made it his habit of blanking the stat sheets of some of the best WRs in the game. That’s not to take anything away from QB Tom Brady, who is still playing at a Pro Bowl level, but TE Rob Gronkowski’s resurgence after two prior playoff trip on the shelf have given the Patriots an overwhelming advantage in the passing game. Throw in the versatility of players like Danny Amendola and Julian Edelman and the Patriots have an offensive attack that few, if any, teams can match. The key to beating the Patriots will be to play tight zone coverage and keep two men on Gronkowski at all times to prevent Brady from using his safety blankets.
As for the Colts, they find themselves on the road in the New England, with their first game in Week 11 being as unmemorable as can be: a 42-20 home loss. But the Colts got very hot in the final month, albeit against some terrible teams, and pulled out some impressive playoff performances against the Cincinnati Bengals and Denver Broncos. They key to the Colts success has been an improvement on the defensive front with CB Vontae Davis playing at a Pro Bowl level. Offensively, in addition to QB Andrew Luck playing lights-out football and keeping efficient drives going, RB Daniel “Boom” Herron has been running roughshod in the playoffs, averaging over 4.0 yards per carry in the playoffs and keeping the defense honest against one of the best passers in the NFL. The key to beating the Colts will be to shut down the running game early and force them to pass, then keeping all of Andrew Luck’s best targets trapped on Revis Island.
Prediction: New England Patriots win the AFC Championship Game – If history is any indication, it will be hard to convince someone that the same Colts team that couldn’t beat the Patriots in Indianapolis will be able to do so in New England – where the Patriots seldom lose at all, let alone in the playoffs. And knowing Patriots head coach Bill Belichik, they probably have a secret play waiting in store for Indianapolis to change their fortunes should the Colts take an early lead on them. The Patriots will win this game handily.