Who Is Playing In The Monday Night Football Game Tonight Foote Notes: Indianapolis at New England

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Foote Notes: Indianapolis at New England

The Colts and Patriots will resume their rivalry when the teams collide in Foxboro for arguably the best Monday Night Football match up of the season. Indianapolis is priced as a 4-point road favorite and the total is hovering around 48.5.

The White Ponies gallop into this game as the NFL’s only perfect team with a 7-0 (SU) and 5-2 (ATS) record for the season. This includes a spotless 4-0 (SU & ATS) mark when on the road.

Peyton Manning, who leads the NFL’s ninth rated offense overall, is having a relatively quiet year in relation to his record breaking campaign in 2004. But Manning is not likely complaining, as this team is as complete as there is in the NFL.

Not only does Indy boast the NFL’s fourth rated ground game, but for the first time in Manning’s career he has a solid defense to rely upon. The Colts stop unit is currently 4th in the NFL in total defense, as well as 6th against the pass and 13th against the run.

If there is a knock on this Indianapolis team, it would have to be strength of schedule thus far. Indy’s seven opponents include Houston (1-7), St. Louis (4-4), San Francisco (2-6), Tennessee (2-7), Cleveland (3-5), Jacksonville (5-3) and Baltimore (2-6). The collective record of these teams is 19-38 (SU) this season.

The Colts narrow 10-3 home win over the Jags was the only game they have played against a foe with a winning record this year. And even though the Patriots have struggled, the defending Super Bowl Champs present Indy with its stiffest test of the season.

The Patriots come in at 4-3 (SU) and 3-4 (ATS) overall, including 2-1 (SU) and 1-2 (ATS) at home. Unlike their AFC counterpart tonight, the Pats have faced a rough and tumble early schedule.

New England’s six opponents include Buffalo (3-5), Denver (6-2), Atlanta (6-2), San Diego (5-4), Pittsburgh (6-2), Carolina (6-2) and Oakland (3-5). The collective record of these teams is 35-23 (SU) this season, while four of the seven are playoff teams from last year. Nevertheless, New England does have some noticeable deficiencies.

The Patriots already have lost more games than all of last season mostly the result of shoddy defense. Belichick’s heralded stop unit has allowed 180 points this season and resides at 29th in the NFL overall. The retirement of linebacker Ted Johnson, along with the release of Ty Law and a secondary decimated by injuries have left the Pats dangerously thin.

The upshot is that New England has turned its focus to offense. Tom Brady is averaging 279 yards passing per game, which is 2nd best in the NFL overall. The Pats are additionally 4th in the NFL in total yards per game and have been “razor sharp” against the number at Gillette Stadium.

New England, in fact, is now 17-4 (ATS) its past twenty-one at home, including 7-2 (ATS) in the rare role of home underdog. Even more important is series history. Manning, the consummate film room student, has been baffled and confused by Belichick’s defensive wizardry.

The Colts are 1-6 (SU) and 0-6-1 (ATS) against New England with Belichick and Manning has never won a game at Gillette Stadium. Note further that Belichick has been the head coach and/or defensive coordinator (Patriots and Jets) vs. Manning eleven times and is 9-1-1 (ATS) vs. him. The simple reason is Bill Belichick is a master of neutralizing good quarterbacks, Manning not withstanding.

Good luck tonight!

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