The New Orleans Saints/Lions game is flexed to replace the Patriots/Colts game this Sunday night and will be nationally televised on NBC instead. This past decade, the rivalry between the Colts and Patriots has made the NFL that much more exciting to be a part of but in the 2011 season much has changed.
It’s funny what can happen to a team when its field general is missing in action. Without Peyton Manning in 2011, the Indianapolis Colts are 0-11 and are about to be 0-12 after they face the Patriots in week 13. Without Tom Brady in 2008, the Patriots went 11-5 with Matt Cassel behind center and they didn’t even make it to the playoffs! If you’re not a fan of the Patriots you may want to change the channel this afternoon as the Patriots are favored to beat the Colts by twenty points but if you are a Patriots fan then you won’t have to dig deep to enjoy watching the Patriots this weekend without any stress. In fact, there are other things to look forward to as well.
This game has a similar feel to a preseason game where you want to evaluate the talent you have on your roster but also, who can make a play? The Patriots will be looking for a playmaker they can rely on in the playoffs once they get there this year and until kickoff we can only wonder who that X-factor may be. Will it be Shane Vareen, Tiquan Underwood, Taylor Price, Chad Ochocinco, Julian Edleman, or maybe Stevan Ridley? Plays are going to be dialed up for these Patriots as the game progresses and you better believe Coach Belichick wants to see what these players have to offer against a first string defense going forward. I think Shane Vareen is going to be the guy who shines in week 13 for the Patriots. Kevin Faulk is past the twilight of his career and rumors have it that Shane Vareen has all the intangibles to be his future replacement. I can’t wait to see what this rookie has to offer and I am curious to see how Belichick utilizes him. Just like you, I see this game being a blowout but a fun one to watch for Patriots fans. I like the Patriots to beat the Colts, 35-19.