Carson Wentz, line of scrimmage, Indianapolis Colts

Indianapolis Colts quarterback Carson Wentz (2) lines up against the Houston Texans during the second half of an NFL football game Sunday, Dec. 5, 2021, in Houston. (AP Photo/Justin Rex)

  • The New England Patriots (9-4) take on the Indianapolis Colts (7-6) on Saturday night at Lucas Oil Stadium
  • 2021 Record: 8-5; +1.33 units
  • See the odds, preview and prediction for Week 15 Patriots vs Colts below

For years the Patriots and Colts were one of the NFL’s best rivalries with two of the league’s best quarterbacks at the center of it.

While most of the principal players have moved on from the more heated days, Week 15 is a throwback of sorts. New England is at the top of the AFC, in the thick of a race for a valuable bye. Indianapolis is amid the Wild Card chase, one of five 7-6 teams in the AFC.

With massive playoff implications on the line for Saturday night, kickoff is set for 8:20 pm EST from Lucas Oil Stadium.

Patriots vs Colts Odds

Team Moneyline Spread Total
New England Patriots +115 +2.0 (-110) Ov 45.0 (-110)
Indianapolis Colts -135 -2.0 (-110) Un 45.0 (-110)

Odds as of December 17th at DraftKings

The two teams are both top ten in total points, with Indy third, accounting for the Colts being 2-point favorites. Indianapolis has hit their over seven times in their last 10, but have struggled against the spread. After covering in four-straight from Week 4 through Week 7, they’re 3-3.

New England has been on a heater ATS, covering in seven-straight games, winning all of those outright. NFL Public Money was backing a Patriots cover midweek, with things constantly shifting. The total opened at 43.5 on some books and has been brought up significantly.

Patriots vs Colts Injury Report

As Covid-19 begins to work it’s way through the NFL once again, that’s the main thing to monitor when it comes to the injury reports.

The Patriots placed three players on the Covid list this week: OL Yasir Durant, RB JJ Taylor and TE Dalton Keene. Kyle Dugger returned to the team after missing the team’s last game against the Bills.

The Colts activated center Ryan Kelly from the list earlier in the week. Zaire Franklin is the only player currently in protocol for Indy.

Week 15 Injury Report

Patriots Injury, Status Colts Injury, Status
Yodny Cajuste, OL Illness, Out Antwaun Woods, DT Calf. Out
David Andrews, C Shoulder, Questionable Ryan Kelly, C Illness/Personal, Questionable
Christian Barmore, DT Knee, Questionable N/A N/A
Ja’Whaun Bentley, LB Ribs, Questionable N/A N/A
Brandon Bolden, RB Knee, Questionable N/A N/A
Trent Brown, OT Calf/Wrist, Questionable N/A N/A
Nick Folk, K Left Knee, Questionable N/A N/A
Damien Harris, RB Hamstring, Out N/A N/A
Ronnie Perkins, LB Ankle, Out N/A N/A
Adrian Phillips, S Knee, Questionable N/A N/A

The injury that’s most important to the Patriots is Damien Harris’ hamstring. Harris played a pivotal role in the win over the Bills, but came up lame partway through. The backfield will fall to Rhamondre Stevenson and Brandon Bolden in his absence.

Patriots vs Colts: Stopping Carson Wentz

One of the things Bill Belichick preaches for his defense is setting the edge against the run, and rush lane integrity against the pass.

His run defense will have its hands full with longshot MVP candidate Jonathan Taylor, which could shine the spotlight onto Carson Wentz. If Belichick’s corners can maintain their coverage, it could force Wentz into a tough spot.

Carson Wentz: Under 2.5 seconds vs  Over 2.5 Seconds in Pocket

152/221 Comp/Att 114/199
68.8% Comp% 57.3%
11 TD 11
1 INT 4
1,294 Yards 1,654
3 Sacks 19
98.5 Rating 94.5

Wentz’s yards-per-attempt and air yards are up when he spends more time in the pocket, but obviously that’s because deeper routes can develop.

If this is Belichick’s plan, he’s likely circling three numbers. The Colts QB’s completion percentage drops, and the interceptions and sacks go up the longer he stays in the pocket.

New England has allowed the second-fewest Net-Yards Gained per Pass Attempt, so they’re likely confident in their coverage matchups. It may be surprising to see them 20th in the NFL in blitz percentage as well. While some of that is playing conservatively in blowouts, it goes back to Belichick preaching patience.

Despite the blitz rate, they’re top ten in hurry percentage and total hurries. So they’ll get to the QB.

Patriots vs Colts: Make Mac Jones Beat You

New England isn’t afraid to run against anyone. If that was ever in doubt, it was put to rest against the Bills. So the trick to beating them is limiting the run game and forcing the Pats into 3rd and long.

Mac Jones on 3rd Down

Distance Comp/Att Comp% Yards/Attempt 1st Downs
4-6 Yards 24/38 63.2% 7.7 22
7-9 Yards 15/23 65.2% 7.1 10
10+ Yards 19/27 70.4% 6.5 4

Percentage wise that works out to 58%, 43.5% and 14.8% conversion rates.

The Pats haven’t babied Jones; far from it. But they do play to his strengths. While he’s gotten better in recent weeks, the better you play on first and second down, the harder it is for New England on third.

Patriots vs Colts Prediction

It’s no surprise to see the total moving on this game. Even with New England’s propensity to play clock control, it just seemed too low.

That being said, 45 is right on the cusp of too low. Both teams have some flawed competition to thank for their recent results, and Jonathan Taylor is the ultimate X-Factor.

It’ll be tight, but both teams put up enough points to just get us there.

The Pick: OVER 45.0 (-110); 1 unit

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Bryan Thiel

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