Today, the Indianapolis Colts travel to Gillette Stadium to take on the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship game. The game will kick off at 6:40 pm ET and will be commentated by Jim Nantz and Phil Simms on CBS.
Preview / Prediction
We are witnessing the dawn of a new era in the AFC -- Andrew Luck has already taken down Peyton Manning, and next on his agenda? Tom Brady and the top-seeded Patriots. The Colts hosted the Patriots in mid-November, losing by a score of 42-20.
The matchup earlier this season was closer than the score would let on. New England led 14-10 at halftime, and a Colts touchdown at the beginning of the fourth quarter made it a 28-20 Patriots lead. The Patriots finished the game with 14 unanswered points, led by the stunning 201-yard, 4-touchdown rushing effort by running back Jonas Gray. That game was all about the Colts' inability to stop the run, but Indianapolis' defense has been more feisty down the stretch, and they were the only team to come away with a road victory this weekend.
New England is coming off of a shootout win over the Ravens in which they pulled out all of the stops on offense to rally for a victory. This will feel just like the old days of the Patriots vs. Colts, only with a new quarterback under center for Indianapolis. Is Luck ready to take that next step in his young career, or will Brady show that he still has another ring left in him? This should be a closely-contested battle, but I see the Patriots continuing their long hot streak offensively to prevail in a shootout. Patriots 35, Colts 31
Former Browns Playing for the Colts or Patriots
Indianapolis Colts: RB Trent Richardson (2013), ILB D'Qwell Jackson (2013), S Mike Adams (2011), KR Josh Cribbs (2012)
New England Patriots: WR Bryan Tyms (2013), WR Jonathan Krause (2014)**, OL Caylin Hauptmann (2014)**, OLB Eric Martin (2014)**
*is currently on IR
**is currently on practice squad
The parenthesis shows the last time the player was a member of the Browns. Richardson has been vocal about wanting to contribute, but he'll be inactive again this week, and he didn't even make the flight to New England for "personal reasons." It's hard to imagine him being a member of the Colts next year.
Game: Indianapolis Colts vs. New England Patriots
Date/Time: Sunday, January 18, 2015 at 6:40 p.m. ET
Location: Gillette Stadium, Foxborough, Massachusetts
Weather: 44 degrees, 15 MPH wind, heavy chance of showers
Television: CBS - Jim Nantz & Phil Simms
Radio: Patriots Radio Network | Colts Radio Network
Online Streaming: Verizon NFL Mobile | CBS Sports
NFL Odds: Patriots by 7
DBN / Browns Fans Perspective
After last Sunday's games, 78% of fans felt the Patriots would advance to the Super Bowl, with only 22% of fans showing support for the Colts. Has your outlook changed since then?
Use this as your open thread to discuss the AFC Championship, and vote in the poll below on who you think will advance to the Super Bowl.