Going into the big Championship game against the Colts, some New England Patrtiots are dealing with the flu. WR Troy Brown, OT Ryan Oâ€™Callaghan, and DL Mike Wright all missed part of Thursdayâ€™s practice due to the flu.The three may be better by game time or, like many tough NFL players, will simply play with the flu if in any way they possibly can but thereâ€™s also concern that the bug will spread. Pats, like Ellis Hobbs, are taking precautions. Hobbs carries a bottle of rubbing alcohol with him and makes sure that he washes his hands before eating and showering.
Rodney Harrison participated in practice on Thursday but heâ€™s still listed as doubtful due to an injured right knee.
The Pats- Colts AFC Championship game looks to be extremely close and the slightest quirk or bump could certainly influence the outcome.
Because both teams have such diverse offenses, I think the difference will be made in the trenches and on special teams. Frontline battles will be essential in shutting down opponent offenses and in defenses stopping the run and pressuring two of the best QBs in the NFL.
The Colts hold the edge on the offensive line, while the Patriots possess a better â€œDâ€? line. The linebacking edge goes to the Pats, while Indy has superior deep backs.
On special teams, look to the field goal unitsâ€”Vinatieri Vs. Gostkowski. Vinatieri, who put all of the Colt points on the board against the Ravens last week as he went five for five, is a superb pressure kicker. Gostkowski, a rookie, has been superlative for most of the season, although he had trouble in the first four games of the season.
The return and coverage units of the Pats are much better than the Colts. So, New England has the edge there.
Finally coachingâ€”Bill Bellichick versus Tony Dungee. Bellichick is the better coach but Dungee has more tools than heâ€™s ever had before and has managed them well.
It may come down to fate, chance and luck and all three of those can go either way.