From NFL Media.com
IT’S THE PERFECT MATCHUP:
UNDEFEATED COLTS & PATS CLASH IN HISTORIC GAME
It hasn’t happened in 88 seasons.
But it will this Sunday in Indianapolis. Two teams with records of 7-0 or better will meet for the first time in NFL history – the New England Patriots (8-0) at the Indianapolis Colts (7-0).
“It will be a circus,” says Colts head coach TONY DUNGY.
Wrong, Coach. It’s already a circus! It is hard to recall a regular-season game that was talked and written about two weeks before it was played. But that’s what has happened for Pats-Colts (CBS, 4:15 PM ET).
“A Week Before Showdown with New England, Colts Must Beat Panthers on Short Week,” said the Associated Press on October 25.
Usually, stories about a team’s next opponent don’t start until perhaps the Wednesday before the game. Not this week.
“Don’t Try to Stop Us; It’s Officially Time to Start the Hype Machine,” said the Indianapolis Star this Monday. “Dream Game Finally Here,” blared the Boston Herald the same day.
The matchup has all the attributes of a classic: last season’s Super Bowl winner against the team that has won it three times in the decade…the league’s top two teams in net points…quarterbacks tied for the most wins since realignment in 2002 – TOM BRADY and PEYTON MANNING (67 apiece)…and opponents that have met seven times in the past four years, including three times in the playoffs.
Everybody will be ready. “You play football for competition, the level of intensity,” says Patriots defensive lineman RICHARD SEYMOUR. “When you have a chance to play against the best team in football, you get excited about it.”
As the NFL reaches the mid-point of its season in Week 9, here are some of the key games:
NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (8-0) at INDIANAPOLIS COLTS (7-0)
STORYLINE: The Perfect Bowl!
The Dome will be rocking! What can New England do to take some of the decibels out of those voices? What it has done in all eight of its 2007 games — score on its first drive, the only team in the NFL to do so in every game this year. The Patriots have scored an opponent-deflating 79 points in the first quarter this season, while giving up only seven points in the period.
Of course, that’s a huge hurdle for any opponent, but if anybody can parry such an opening salvo, it’s Indianapolis. Last season in the AFC Championship Game, it went into the half down 21-6 to New England before outgaining the Patriots 311-149 in total yards in the second half during an 18-point comeback for a 38-34 win.
But who knows what will happen Sunday with these two opportunistic teams? They are tied for the league lead in turnover differential with a plus-11.
NFL NETWORK TREATS IT LIKE A MID-SEASON SUPER BOWL: NFL Network will broadcast 36-and-a-half hours of coverage surrounding this Sunday’s Patriots-Colts game, a record for the network for a non-Super Bowl game.
One of the key battles will come between New England’s receivers and Indy’s No. 1 NFL pass defense, led by havoc-causing S BOB SANDERS. The Patriots have two receivers in the top five in NFL catches – WES WELKER (tie, No. 2, 56) and RANDY MOSS (No. 4, 47). They have combined with DONTÉ STALLWORTH for a total of 20 TD receptions.
The Colts hope to get WR MARVIN HARRISON (knee) back this week to prevent the Pats from ganging up on REGGIE WAYNE (fourth in the NFL with 668 yards). New England has added to its arsenal with the return of RB LAURENCE MARONEY (75 yards last week). The Colts, on the other hand, have the league’s top TD rusher, JOSEPH ADDAI (7). These guys always seem to have the answers!