In perhaps their biggest regular season game in some time, the Indianapolis Colts (7-6) will host the New England Patriots (9-4) on Saturday at Lucas Oil Stadium.
The Patriots are winners of seven straight games against the Colts, including the playoffs, and Indy will be looking to change that narrative with a win over their long-time rivals.
According to our friends at DraftKings Sportsbook, the Colts are favored in this one. Here are my three bold predictions for the much-anticipated primetime match-up.
- Jonathan Taylor will rush for 100 or more yards and multiple touchdowns
Taylor could be poised to have another strong performance against a middle-of-the-pack Patriots’ run defense, as New England ranks 18th in rushing yards allowed per game with 114.5, according to teamrankings.com.
New England has also surrendered 4.5 yards per carry to running backs this season, too, which could bode well for Taylor, who’s averaging a career-high 5.6 yards per carry.
Rushing for triple digits won’t come easy despite the Patriots’ run defense ranking, as their defense has only allowed an opposing back to rush for 100 or more yards one time this season (Week 12 vs. Titans). Even still, that shouldn’t — and likely won’t — deter the Colts from going to their best offensive player early and often.
Given that Taylor has rushed for at least 100 yards in over half his games this season, I like his chances at garnering another 100-yard game against a middle-of-the-pack Patriots’ run defense.
- Indy’s defense will force at least two turnovers
The Colts’ defense is first in the league in total takeaways with 29. They’ve forced at least one turnover in each of their last 14 games, which is the longest streak in the NFL currently.
Going up against rookie quarterback Mac Jones could work in Indy’s favor, but the first-round pick has done a nice job at protecting the football as he’s only thrown six interceptions this season.
New England is also only 13th in the league in giveaways this season with 16, so taking the ball away won’t be easy against a team that’s typically very disciplined with their ball security. Indy is going to need to force at least a turnover and give their offense a short field to work with against New England’s top-tier defense, and I think they’ll do just that.
- The Colts will pull off their biggest win of the season and improve to 8-6
This game is easily the Colts’ biggest of the season, with massive playoff implications at stake. New England has won seven games in a row, while Indy has won three of their last four games.
Indy has scored 30 or more points in seven of their last eight games, and they currently rank first in points per game, total touchdowns and second in rushing as well. The Colts are coming off a bye, too, and Head Coach Frank Reich has a very solid track record when coming out of the team’s bye week.
New England — although it may not be much — has a little more margin for error than Indy does record-wise, and for all of the reasons/bold predictions mentioned, I like the Colts to come away with their biggest win of the 2021 season, improve to 8-6 and jump to the No. 5 seed in the AFC playoff race.