Just nine months ago, the New England Patriots and Indianapolis Colts squared off for the right to play in Super Bowl XLIX in a game that the Patriots dominated from start to finish. Since then, the Colts accused the Patriots of cheating and helped bring about a NFL scandal that nearly took away Patriots quarterback Tom Brady for four games. In a game where both teams have revenge in mind, it will all come down to quarterbacks with very different motivations.
Indianapolis Colts Counting On Luck
For Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck, the beginning of this season has been a nightmare. Luck has missed multiple games due to injury, and hasn’t been as effective as he has been in previous years in the games he’s been healthy enough to participate in. For him, the motivation to shine in this key NFL matchup is twofold.
First, Luck will want to prove that he is healthy again, and can deliver the high caliber performances that fans are used to seeing from him. Indianapolis managed to win the two games that Luck missed this year, but those games came against the fellow AFC South Jacksonville Jaguars and Houston Texans, both of whom are objectively lower tier teams in the NFL. In order to have success long term, Luck will need to be healthy and effective, and that process starts here.
Andrew Luck has also had to hear rumblings that he was not the right player for the Colts to build their team around after a string of subpar games dating back to the Colts’ AFC Championship Game loss at the hands of the Patriots. Luck will want desperately to perform well for the first time in nine months and get his team a much needed win to prove that they can beat the AFC’s best team.
New England Patriots Looking For Revenge
The entire summer was dominated by the ball deflation scandal that saw the New England Patriots accused of cheating. That scandal was started by an accusation by the Indianapolis Colts, who brought the issue to the attention of the NFL. As a result, look for the New England Patriots to do everything they can to get revenge on the Colts on Sunday.
More than anyone, expect Tom Brady to try to run up the score against the team that nearly cost him four games in suspensions with that scandal. Brady has had great success against the Colts as it is, but the Patriots have shown time and time again that they can and will embarrass an opponent if they’re angry enough heading into the game during the Brady and Belichick era. This was the case in 2007, when the Patriots ran up the score on several opponents in the season following allegations that they illegally recorded the signals of their opponents.
If nothing else, expect both teams to put up their share of points, but expect Brady and company to put up more of them to send a message to the rest of the league that they are still angry about the events of this offseason and that they are out for revenge.
Jason M. Sanin