Here are a few things to look for in this match up.
FOR THE COLTS:
1) Manning: He has not been sharp during the playoffs. If heâ€™s not sharp again thatâ€™s fine as long as heâ€™s able to adapt as he has the last two weeks. Will he take what the Patriots give him? If he does, that will be a huge positive sign.
2) Patâ€™s Secondary: Rodney Harrison will not play due to injury. That weakens the New England â€œDâ€? quite a bit. The Colts have some of the best receivers in the game and will take advantage of this weakness.
3) Colt Defensive frontline: They have been stoppers against the run. If they can have a repeat performance, it will put a lot of pressure on Brady and his receivers who are good but perhaps not as good as the solid Colt secondary.
4) Offensive Line: Chances are New England will be trying to force Manning out of the pocket and to make mistakes. They have not been able to do that this year and they must in order to win. Manning is too good, even at his worst, to hand them the game. Confuse Manning and you confuse the Colts.
FOR THE PATRIOTS:
1) Running Game: Dillon and Maroney have done a fine job giving the Pats a new explosive dimension. Establish the running game and control time of possession to keep the ball out of Manningâ€™s hands as much as possible.
2) Brady: He is one of the best but the dome can be deafening and confusing. This QB is as prepared as anyone in the league. So if he maintains his composure and is accurate, heâ€™ll keep this team in the game.
3) Gostkowski: The rookie kicker has been performing well. If he makes good on every chance he gets, the Patriots will have an essential weapon that they can depend upon.
4) Belichick: Has he developed a game plan that will work and that his team can execute. Is there anything new that he can exploit?
If this game comes down to a field goal, then the Colts have the advantage with Vinatieri. The Patriots have an advantage if Brady has the ball at the end and if he can win it with a TD. It should be a great game!