The New England Patriots bounced back with a solid win over the New York Jets last Sunday in East Rutherford, NJ. After a sloppy first half and a fortunate and questionable roughing the passer penalty on Jets’ edge rusher John Franklin-Myers before halftime, the Patriots feasted on three turnovers from beleaguered Jets’ quarterback Zach Wilson as they won 22-17.
The New England Patriots look to continue their winning ways this week with their final game prior to the bye week facing the Indianapolis Colts at Gillette Stadium at 1 PM on Sunday. They are facing the Indianapolis Colts for the second straight season.
Last season, the Patriots traveled to Indianapolis with a 9-4 record and lead over Buffalo in the AFC East riding a 7-game winning streak before dropping a 27-17 decision to the Carson Wentz led Colts (despite Wentz trying desperately to hand the game to New England).
The match-up on Sunday features two teams moving in opposite directions. The Patriots are back to .500 and are still re-integrating quarterback Mac Jones into the game plan after missing three games due to injury. Jones was far from looking like the quarterback in control of the offense he was in 2021 last week as he was swarmed and sacked six times against the Jets.
The Colts, saving a potential $17.9 million on next year’s salary cap, shut down quarterback Matt Ryan and turned to 2021 sixth-round draft pick Sam Ehlinger from Texas (Hook ‘Em Horns!) last week and for the foreseeable future. Despite holding a nine-point lead in the fourth quarter, the Colts gave away the game losing 17-16 to Washington to fall to 3-4-1.
This week’s match-up will be broadcast by CBS and can be seen locally on WBZ-TV Channel 4 in the greater Boston area and on WPRI-12 in the greater Providence area.
Greg Gumbel (thoughts of Gumbel 2 Gumbel: Beach Justice from Family Guy season 2, episode 9 will run through my head all game) will handle play-by-play duties with former Rams’ safety Adam Archuleta as the color analyst. AJ Ross will work from the sidelines
Locally, 98.5 The Sports Hub remains the flagship station for the Patriots Radio Network and will carry the game as usual. Play-by-play broadcaster Bob Socci will call the action along with former Patriots quarterback Scott Zolak, who will provide his own unique brand of sound effects, grunts, singing and other colorful color analysis.
Three hours prior to kickoff, during halftime and after the game, Marc “the Beetle” Bertrand and Boston Globe scribe Chris Gasper will be providing the relevant news and information, while “Big” Jim Murray will join Joe Murray for the postgame news late into the night. Hopefully the drinking establishments around Foxboro will be closed by the time the Murray boys wrap up coverage and head out into the night.
With 10 radio affiliates in Massachusetts, four in Maine, three in Connecticut, eight in New Hampshire, four in Vermont, two in Rhode Island and even one infringing into Buffalo Bills’ territory in Rochester, NY the Patriots radio network truly puts the “New England” in the New England Patriots.
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Last Week Recap:
Coming off their worst performance of the season against the Bears, last week the New England Patriots defense stepped up against the New York Jets. The Patriots shut down the beleaguered Jets’ running game (15 rushes for 51 yards) and picked off quarterback Zach Wilson three times.(all stats from Pro-Football-Reference.com unless otherwise noted).
The offense had a number of scoring drives, but only one touchdown. A 15-play first-quarter drive resulted in New England stalling out. The Patriots got to the Jets’ eight-yard line before moving backward and kicking a field goal.
In the second quarter, the Patriots drove to the edge of the red zone, facing a fourth-and-one at the Jets’ 21-yard line. Jones tried to find a well-covered Jakobi Meyers but the pass fell incomplete.
Later that quarter, Jones threw what should have been a pick-six with less than 40 seconds remaining in the half. Fortunately, the official flagged John Franklin-Meyers for an overzealous takedown (which looked textbook and definitely not a penalty to me) of Jones and gave the Patriots the ball back at the Jets’ 12-yard line. A holding penalty and two runs and a kneel down resulted in another Nick Folk field goal.
The second half started with the impressive touchdown drive capped off by the touchdown pass to Meyers on fourth-and-one. After that, another couple of drives with good field position stalled out and resulted in field goals. The play-calling was very conservative, but then again it didn’t have to get too creative and the Patriots held on to a 22-17 win.
Meanwhile, the Indianapolis Colts had been locked in a defensive struggle with the Washington Commanders at Lucas Oil Stadium. The Colts had a couple of turnovers and struggled to mount long drives against a stout Washington defense.
The Colts were solid on defense much of the day, but in the fourth quarter the Commanders took command. A 12 play, 82-yard drive put them back in the game after trailing 16-7. The Colts had the ball back with a fourth-and-one at their own 34-yard line and less than three minutes to play after a scramble by Sam Ehlinger.
With the Colts offensive line of 2018 through 2021, the Colts go for it there and easily convert. With this unit, they may have made the right call to punt it away. Unfortunately, Taylor Heinicke found Terry McLaurin for 33 yards with Scary Terry ripping the ball away from old friend Stephon Gilmore at the one yard line. A quarterback sneak later and it was essentially game over.
Ep 48: Bucs/Seahawks In Germany; Jeff Saturday, Week 10 Picks
by Full Press Coverage on November 13, 2022 at 10:30 pm
Patriots Offense vs Colts’ Defense:
The New England Patriots have moved on from Zappe Fever. Likely a footnote in team history (maybe Zappe will someday turn his two game star turn into a radio job as well like Scott Zolak did), Jones is still the future at quarterback in New England. Halfway through 2022, the Patriots still don’t seem to have a concrete offensive game plan for Jones.
Here’s an idea: Focus on the YAC.
We know what Jakobi Meyers can do working the middle of the field on crossing routes. Keep working Hunter Henry and Jonnu Smith into the game plan, especially designing some catch-and-run plays for Smith to maximize his ability to turn short passes into long gainers. With DeVante Parker banged up, get the ball in the hands of Tyquan Thornton and see if he can slip a tackle and make some big plays.
The Patriots will try to get back on track on offense converting third downs and in the red zone. They had a tough go of it on third down against a stout Jets’ defense last week converting just 6 of 19 tries. They’ve slipped to 17th in the NFL now with just a 39.8% conversion rate.
In the red zone, the Patriots continued to struggle to get in the end zone. Last week they were bailed out by the leg of kicker Nick Folk. They’re now converted just 47.6% (10 of 21) of their red zone trips into touchdowns, which is a dismal 26th in the NFL.
The Colts’ defense is the only thing keeping them out of the cellar of the dismal AFC South. They are seventh in points allowed (157) and ninth in total yards (2,558). More importantly, they’ve been great on third down ranking fourth in the league allowing just 33 of 101 attempts (32.7%).
Fourth down and stopping teams in the red zone has been their Achilles heel. On fourth down, opponents have converted 7 of 12 chances (58.3%) which is 23rd overall. In the red zone, opponents have converted 13 of 22 (59.1%) red zone trips into touchdowns, good for 19th overall.
Three Matchups to Watch:
Ts Trent Brown and Isaiah Wynn vs DEs Yannick Ngakoue and Kwity Paye
Paye and Ngakoue have combined for seven of the Colts’ 19 sacks in 2022. With DeForeste Buckner getting double-teamed in the interior offensive line, the pass rush duo has been a catalyst for the teams’ strong pass defense. Paye has missed time with an ankle injury but is expected to play on Sunday. With Marcus Cannon a midweek addition to the injury report with a concussion, the expectation is the struggling Wynn is back on the right side facing off with Paye.
RB Rhamondre Stevenson vs LBs Shaquille Leonard, Bobby Okereke and Zaire Franklin
Shaq (nee Darius) Leonard has had a tough 2022 season. A variety of injuries have kept him out of six games and since his return, he has been playing part-time at weak-side linebacker instead of in the middle. Missing time has caused him to be behind in the implementation of the Gus Bradley defense in Indianapolis. Whoever it is on the field will have to contend with ‘Mondre. He’s become a full back with excellent running, blocking and receiving skills. At this point, he is the top playmaker on offense.
WRs Jakobi Meyers, Tyquan Thornton and Kendrick Bourne vs CBs Stephon Gilmore, Kenny Moore II and Isaiah Rodgers
There’s not just one “Patriots Revenge Game” factor here, but two! We all remember the great years and Lombardi Trophy that Gilmore played a huge role in bringing about, but Kenny Moore was a Patriots undrafted rookie free agent who they tried to sneak through waivers to the practice squad. Unfortunately, the Colts snagged him and he blossomed into a star slot cornerback (and now switches both inside and outside).
Rodgers is the wild card. The Colts tried to replace him with Brandon Facyson, but that made a bad situation worse. Expect Mac Jones to look for #34 in coverage anytime the Colts are in their nickel defense and try to exploit that mismatch.
Patriots Score Prediction:
New England 24 – Indianapolis 9
I admit it: I doubted the Patriots last week on their ability to go on the road and beat a top-ten defense and team on a four-game winning streak. They proved me wrong, and it was beautiful and I couldn’t be happier.
However, this week they face the dreaded “underachieving road team that believes they are more talented and can turn their season around this week” match-up against the Colts. Indianapolis has talent on both sides of the ball, but just has not been able to put it together in 2022 and string together victories.
I’m counting on the Patriots putting this game on the shoulders of Rhamondre Stevenson and emphasizing the tight ends in the passing game. With Mac Jones closer to returning to full strength and more comfortable in the pocket than he was against Chicago and last week against the Jets, I expect drives to be finished off with six points and that makes a huge difference in the final score.
– Hal Bent has covered the New England Patriots for the past five years at FullPressCoverage.com and can be found at @Halbent01 on Twitter and manning the @FPC_Patriots account each game day providing game updates, instant analysis, complaining about uncalled holding penalties and calling out Steve Belichick for playing too much zone coverage in crucial situations.