The Indianapolis Colts (4-5) look to get back in the playoff hunt against the struggling New England Patriots (2-7) in an intriguing NFL matchup in Frankfurt, Germany on Sunday. In this Week 10 battle, all eyes will be on Bill Belichick as the legendary coach could be coaching for his job.
Wouldn’t it be ironic if the Colts were the team to knock Belichick off his mantle and change the direction of the Patriots?
While it would still be shocking if Patriots owner Robert Kraft pulled the trigger and fired Belichick in the middle of the season, if the once great and mighty New England Patriots continue to look like a mess on and off the field, it could happen which would lead to an interesting new chapter for a team that dominated the league for two decades.
So, the question is can the Patriots put it together in Germany or will a Colts squad with a dominate running back in Jonathan Taylor and a tough defensive front completely stomp the Patriots? In this Garnder Minshew vs. Mac Jones quarterback matchup, it will be the signal caller that makes the least mistakes that will help lead their team to victory. It will also depend on which offensive playmaker makes the big plays.
With the defenses looking to dominate in this game, let’s examine each team’s biggest offensive weapon in this NFL Week 10 showdown in
Colts take: Jonathan Taylor could be in for a gigantic day
Starting with the Indianapolis Colts, the biggest offensive force on their side of the ball will be star running back Jonathan Jones who rushed for 170 yards against the Patriots in their matchup back in 2001.
You better believe that performance is fresh in the mind of Belichick who strives on taking away the opponent’s top weapon so that will make it tough for Taylor to run the ball between the tackles, especially with Davon Godchaux and Christian Barmore clogging up the middle.
With the Patriots locked in on stopping Taylor, that could open up the passing game a bit with Minshew. Belichick’s strategy may be to take the ball out of Taylor’s hands and take his chances with Minshew throwing the ball. That’s where Michael Pittman Jr. and tight end Kylen Granson could have big games, but if you are a betting man, Jonathan Taylor will find ways to eat up yardage in this game as the Colts will stick with the running game and eventually find rhythm on the ground.
Patriots take: The Demario Douglas breaks out game?
Limit mistakes and take what the defense gives you. That will be the mantra of Mac Jones heading into this game. With no Trent Brown on the offensive line, the Colts defensive front led by linebacker Shaquille Leonard and defensive tackle DeForest Buckner cold make life difficult for Jones so he must make quality decisions and get the ball out quick.
That is where rookie wide receiver Demario Douglas should shine in this game as he is one of the few players in the Patriots offense able to get open quick. Look for Mac Jones to get the ball to Douglas more on short passes that will allow him to break some ankles and create yards after the catch.
Without Kendrick Bourne and no other Patriots wideout stepping up, Douglas is quickly becoming Mac’s go-to guy which he is embracing.
“Playing my role, just coming in and doing what I have to do,” Douglas said following the team’s lost to the Washington Commanders in Week 9. “Whatever that is, I’m going to do it to my full potential.”
If the Patriots are to have a chance at winning this game, it will obviously start with the offensive line and protection for Mac Jones. But, if the Patriots can find Douglas early and often, it could open up other areas of the field where Jones could get the ball to his running backs out of the backfield and his tight ends.
Prediction: Despite the records, this will be a classic Patriots vs Colts showdown. Both defenses will hold the points down, but it will come down to the decision-making of the quarterback. Which offense limits the mistakes will be key in this game as the Patriots defense will get a couple of key turnovers to set up scoring opportunities for Mac Jones. In a 17-13 win over the Colts, Belichick will live to see another day in New England but the flaws will still be there as Jonathan Taylor will expose the Patriots run defense a bit even in defeat.