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Opening NFL odds Week 15 - Colts favored by 2 at home against Patriots

Indianapolis hosts New England on Saturday, Dec. 18

NFL: Indianapolis Colts at Houston Texans Thomas Shea-USA TODAY Sports

If it feels like it has been a long time since the Colts met the Patriots for a meaningful football game, it’s because it has been. The Colts have not defeated the Patriots since Nov. 15, 2009 — which is the second to last season Peyton Manning would take a snap as a member of the Colts. Manning lost his final game against New England donning the horseshoe in November of 2010.

Since that time, the Colts have lost by 7-points or more in seven straight meetings. They’ve lost by two touchdowns or more in five of those seven meetings. Put plainly, it’s been lopsided in favor of New England.

With that said, even after Manning finished his career in Denver, the teams found new reasons to retain strong feelings toward the other.

The Deflategate controversy resulted in an investigation of the Patriots franchise for cheating, which isn’t new for the organization. The results included Tom Brady receiving a suspension and ultimately a conclusion by the NFL leadership that he knowingly cheated.

New England offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels was chosen by Chris Ballard to take over for Chuck Pagano in Ballard’s second season as General Manager. McDaniels agreed to take the head coaching position and the Colts went so far as to announce the move only to see him back out of the decision.

Let’s call that interaction disrespectful, unprofessional, and unappreciated by Ballard who announced at a press conference following the decision that the rivalry was back on. The Colts have only faced the Patriots one time during Ballard’s tenure and lost that game in Foxborough. You can bet that Ballard wants revenge.

No matter the relative record in the rivalry, rest assured that the Colts’ locker room will be reminded this week of the bad blood between the two franchises. This one will be personal, for both teams, and the outcome of the game will have meaningful implications in the AFC. A Colts win would put them squarely in the driver’s seat for a Wild Card berth with three to go. Their conference record would give them a clear tie-breaker against other Wild Card hopefuls.

A Patriots win would likely put the Colts back on the outside of the playoff picture with only three to go. It would make each of the last three games must-win for Indianapolis to get in — outside of relying heavily on other teams to fail. It would also keep the Patriots in control of the race for home-field advantage and a bye in the playoffs - potentially forcing the rest of the AFC to go through Foxborough to get to the Super Bowl.

Needless to say, this should be a fun one. It feels like the type of game that could be a lot of fun to watch. The oddsmakers agree that this could be a nailbiter.

The early line makes the Colts 2-point home favorites versus the Patriots for Saturday night’s game, according to DraftKings Sportsbook.

Odds/lines subject to change. T&Cs apply. See draftkings.com/sportsbook for details.