Colts’ IOL vs. Christian Barmore
Christian Barmore is the Patriots’ most important defensive linemen, with 12 run stops and 24 total pressures. There are not many other players on that front that can hurt you, so the Colts’ interior offensive line will have to be extra careful with Barmore. Kelly and Nelson have been spectacular so far, but it is Will Fries who has been the pleasant surprise this season so far. The trio have allowed only 31 combined pressures on over 1.000 pass blocking snaps.
Kylen Granson vs. Jahlani Tavai
Jahlani Tavai is among the best pass-coverage linebackers in the NFL, and the Patriots overall do a really job against them. Kylen Granson was a big part of the Colts’ offense before missing a couple of games, but is now fully back and his ability to create plays on short yardage situations is something the Colts’ tight end room was really missing.
Gus Bradley vs. Mac Jones
Mac Jones has not taken the step forward the Patriots’ were expecting from him, and I would not be surprised at all if he is not the starting quarterback next season, with 10 touchdowns and 9 interceptions to his name, and several key missed throws. Colts’ defensive coordinator Gus Bradley has the perfect chance to put up an encore performance after his defense was once again solid against the Panthers’ last week.
Shane Steichen vs. Bill Belichick
This is perhaps the toughest test a rookie head coach can face: Bill Belichick. Say whatever you want about him, the cheating, the Brady dependency, whatever, truth is he is the greatest head-coach in the NFL, and always has a few tricks up his sleeve when facing the Colts. Defeating him would be big for Steichen, as it would also endear him to the fanbase.
DeForest Buckner vs. David Andrews
Buckner has not only been having probably his most productive season since joining the team but was also the second best player on the team last week and only because Kenny Moore had a career day. Buckner will get a chance to line up against David Andrews and a Patriots’ interior offensive line that has been mediocre this season.
Jaylon Jones / Darrell Baker Jr. vs. Kendrick Bourne
Bourne has been the most important playmaker in a Patriots’ offense that struggles a lot, racking up over 400 receiving yards and scoring four times. Jones tends to spread the ball around, but Bourne leads the team with 55 targets, fifteen more than the second. Jones and Baker had a solid week against Adam Thielen, so hopefully they manage to maintain this level of form at least until Juju Brents returns after the bye week.