Thursday, January 15, 2015

Bob Lobel: Are the Patriots Super Bowl Bound?

By Bob Lobel (@boblobel) and Andy Dougherty (@AndyDougherty10)

Ed. Note- Instead of his usual blog, this week Bob is simply offering his thoughts on the Patriots' upcoming AFC Championship Game against the visiting Indianapolis Colts. His buddy Andy Dougherty also breaks down the upcoming championship game here.

Be on the lookout for an in-depth preview of both championship games from editors Jeremy Conlin and Joe Parello tomorrow.

Bob Lobel

This week has brought more recognition to our region than the Tea Party ever hoped to. 

It has surpassed the Brinks Robbery and the Great Molasses Flood. The Patriots are hosting another championship football game, one step away from another Super Bowl.

The obvious and fun question is "would you trade Tom Brady for Andrew Luck?" Who do you want? Also, ask this: Which of the four quarterbacks left would you take? Right now, I'm guessing, every fan would take his or her guy, but I'm not sure Brady would win that contest… He just wins at home.

Things can happen and, as Murphy's Law stipulates, if it can happen, it will. Surely kickers will decide it. Perhaps Vinatieri kicks a mid-range field goal to win it for Indy by 2. Or maybe Adam misses a mid-range kick and the Patriots win by 3.

Brady puts on a classic closing drive to win it? Andrew has all the luck and puts together the winning drive? What's most likely to happen?

Pats score a touchdown, but there is a penalty flag? Colts have a last second touchdown pass dropped but there is an end zone penalty flag? 

I think of all the unique things that can happen, but the most predictable wins out, and what has been more predictable this year than a ball busting penalty flag. Some things you can count on.

Despite all that, I'll say Pats by 3!

Andy Dougherty

This will be the fourth installment of the budding rivalry between Brady and Luck, but so far it has been a completely one-sided affair. The Patriots have steamrolled the Colts by more than 20 points in all three prior meetings. But the Patriots are favored by a mere 7 points at home in this one.

Oddsmakers were impressed by the Colts’ upset win over Peyton Manning and the Broncos in Denver last week. But to anyone watching, it was clear that Manning was far from 100%. Sure enough, reports surfaced that he had been dealing with a torn quadriceps muscle. The Colts tackled well on Manning’s repeated check-downs, but they were able to play aggressively because they faced no threats down the field.

Luck still only produced a passer rating of 76.2, throwing two interceptions and helping the Colts put up 24 points. That won’t be enough against the Patriots. New England has fed off of Luck’s gun-slinging ways in the past, limiting their own mistakes while capitalizing on Luck’s turnovers. The Colts struggle to run the ball effectively, and Darrelle Revis has shown that he can neutralize T.Y. Hilton, Luck’s best weapon on offense.

The Patriots are poised to make life difficult for Luck once again. He has matured this year, but he still has a lot of his old tendencies. The Patriots might not win as big as they did earlier this year, but they should still win comfortably.

Patriots (-7) over Colts

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