Indianapolis Colts first-year head coach Shane Steichen leads his regime in perhaps its most challenging battle Sunday against the most successful coach in NFL history.
Bill Belichick has spent 24 seasons as head coach of the New England Patriots and his 49 seasons overall is the longest coaching career in NFL history. Indianapolis’ international affair will feature a classic dichotomy, a defensive guru versus a modern offensive innovator.
The classic Colts-Patriots rivalry on the gridiron spans 78 regular season games (Patriots lead all-time series 49-29) and five postseason games (Patriots lead 4-1). Can Bill O’Brien out-scheme Gus Bradley or can Belichick stifle Steichen’s explosive playcalling? Steichen acknowledged winning the turnover battle has been a significant factor to the Colts four victories.
Below are 10 facts by the numbers to preview the Colts-Patriots Week 10 matchup at Frankfurt Stadium.
- Indianapolis is 4-0 when creating more takeaways than giveaways and 0-5 when either losing or drawing even with its opponent in regards to the turnover battle. The Colts have lost 12 consecutive games when the offense allows just one giveaway.
- New England’s front line allows just 3.48 yards per rush, which is the second-fewest yards allowed in the NFL.
- The Colts are tied with the Baltimore Ravens for the third-most rushes of more than 20 yards. Among running backs, Zack Moss has six such carries, which is tied for the most rushes of 20-plus yards with Miami’s tailback tandem Raheem Mostert and DeVon Achane. Moss’ 615 rushing yards trail only San Francisco’s Christian McCaffery for the most in the NFL.
- Inside the red zone, the Colts average 3.55 yards per play, which ranks fourth in the NFL.
- New England’s opponents have converted just 14-of-32 red zone drives (46%) into touchdowns, which is the fifth-lowest percentage in the NFL.
- Indianapolis kicker Matt Gay ranks second in the NFL with six field goals made from 50-plus yards this season.
- The Colts enter Week 10 averaging 25.8 points per game, which is the seventh-highest scoring average in the NFL.
- Of the eight teams remaining on the Colts 2023 regular season schedule, just two teams enter Week 10 with a winning record.
- Patriots quarterback Mac Jones has thrown a league-worst nine interceptions this season.
- Colts running back Jonathan Taylor has yet to rush for 100-plus yards in nearly a full calendar year since Week 10 in 2022.
Colts receivers Josh Downs (knee) and Alec Pierce (ankle), along with NFL tackling leader Zaire Franklin are questionable to play. Rookie cornerback JuJu Brents (quadricep) and tight end Drew Ogletree (foot) did not travel with the team on the transatlantic flight to Germany. Indianapolis may play without three of its starting pass catchers, meaning the Colts must lean on the ground attack and feed their dynamic backfield duo to control the time of possession.
The Colts aim to secure the franchise’s first win in the NFL’s International Series Sunday, with an early kickoff scheduled at 9:30 a.m on NFL Network.