Patriots vs Colts NFL Week 9 Odds, Picks, Prediction
Mitchell Leff/Getty Images. Pictured: Bill Belichick (left) and Mac Jones (right).
- The Patriots are favored by 4.5 points this afternoon against the Colts.
- Sam Ehlinger's second career start comes against Bill Belichick's stout defense.
- Ricky Henne previews the game and makes a pick below.
Patriots vs Colts Odds
Remember when Colts vs. Patriots was the must-see event of the year with Peyton Manning going mano-a-mano against Tom Brady? That battle of legendary offenses is a far cry from what we’ll see Sunday.
The Colts’ offense is a mess, with few signs they’ll turn things around anytime soon. Meanwhile, the Patriots’ quarterback situation is murky at best with Mac Jones regressing following a Pro Bowl rookie season.
The game opened as a pick’em but moved heavily in the Patriots' favor as the week progressed. Let’s find out why.
Colts vs. Patriots Matchup Analysis
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Colts vs. Patriots DVOA Breakdown
A tumultuous season rolls on for the Colts, who made a major change on offense for the second straight week by firing offensive coordinator Marcus Brady. Can you really blame them, though? Indianapolis averages a paltry 16.1 points per game on the season. The Colts have eclipsed 20 points in a game only once all year, and Football Outsiders ranks them last in offensive DVOA (-25.3) by a healthy margin.
Indianapolis turned the keys of the offense over to Sam Ehlinger in Week 8, but he failed to provide the spark they hoped as the Colts mustered a meager 17 points. Now, he faces the daunting task of going against a ferocious Patriots defense ranked sixth in total DVOA (-8.7%) and fifth against the pass (-17.0%). New England is third-best in the league at pressuring the quarterback, and it figures to have a field day against an offensive line surrendering the third-most sacks in the NFL.
Making matters worse is a Colts ground attack in complete disarray. Jonathan Taylor will miss the game with an ankle injury. The timing couldn’t be worse after the team dealt do-it-all running back Nyheim Hines to the Bills at the trade deadline.
That leaves Deon Jackson to carry the load. He hardly strikes fear in opposing defenses, but the silver lining is he thrived when Taylor and Hines both missed the Jaguars game due to injury.
Indianapolis scored a season-high 37 points that day, with Jackson carrying the ball 14 times for 42 yards and a touchdown. He also caught all 10 passes thrown his way for 79 yards. It’ll be tough treading for Jackson, though, against a New England defense that’s given up a grand total of one touchdown to opposing running backs this season.
Things are seemingly lining up in the Patriots' favor, yet they’ve been one of the league's most Jekyll-and-Hyde teams.
Jones has struggled under center, ranking 33rd in DVOA among qualifying quarterbacks. He’s potentially on a short leash with a fair number of fans clamoring for Bailey Zappe. The fourth-round pick guided the Patriots to their two highest-scoring outputs of the year when an ankle injured sidelined Jones.
New England has relied heavily on its run game no matter who’s under center. Its 231 carries are the seventh most in the NFL while their 236 pass attempts are the sixth fewest. That makes sense considering New England is one of only two teams with a pair of running backs boasting top-20 grades, according to Pro Football Focus.
Rhamondre Stevenson ranks sixth with a grade of 88.6 while Damien Harris is 20th with a grade of 71.6. The Patriots face their stiffest test on the ground to date, as the Colts rank sixth in DVOA against the run (-13.6%).
His coordinator canned. A key cog in Hines dealt. Taylor declared out with an ankle injury. Ehlinger must be wondering what he did wrong in a past life to deserve this turbulent week. It’d tough to overcome these obstacles against any opponent, but downright daunting against a Bill Belichick-led team.
With a mere 23 pro passes to his name, Ehlinger is for all intents and purposes a rookie. Belichick feasts on quarterbacks in similar situations, going 14-0 at home against rookie passers and 11-3 against the spread.
The game figures to be a low-scoring affair, which also plays into the Patriots’ hands. An over/under of 40.5 is the lowest of any Week 9 matchup, and New England is 21-10-1 over the last twenty years in games in which fewer than 40 points are scored.
The Colts have played only two games all year in which that total was eclipsed, and none of them came on the road. Indianapolis is also 1-3 ATS away from home.
Making matters worse is that Gillette Stadium has been a house of horrors for the Colts, who’ve lost six straight in a Foxborough. Take the Patriots to win by at least two field goals as the signs point to them covering in a low-scoring game.