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Setting the scene: Patriots-Colts from Gillette Stadium

11.18.12 at 12:55 pm ET
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Vince Wilfork and the Patriots ready to work up a sweat to contain Andrew Luck and the Colts. (Mike Petraglia/WEEI.com)

FOXBORO — It will be seasonably chilly when the Patriots and Colts kick off at 4:25 p.m. at Gillette Stadium as the forecast calls for clear skies and temperatures in the low 40s, with a brisk breeze of 10 mph coming out of the northeast.

Temperatures are expected to dip into the mid-to-upper 30s by the end of the game at 7:30.

There will be plenty of matchups to watch today, beginning with the expected debut of left cornerback Aqib Talib, who practiced all week with the team after serving the fourth game of his four-game suspension for admitted Adderall use in violation of the NFL’s performance enhancing drug policy.

Talib was acquired from Tampa Bay on Nov. 2 along with a seventh round pick in 2013 for New England’s fourth-round pick next April.

Talib is a welcome addition to a secondary and defense that allowed 481 total yards and a Patriots record 35 first downs allowed in a narrow 37-31 win over the Bills last Sunday at Gillette.

How the Patriots and Bill Belichick handle rookie quarterback Andrew Luck is another matchup worth watching. Luck has been a much better and more efficient quarterback at his home of Lucas Oil Stadium than on the road. At home, Luck has compiled a 4-1 record, with eight touchdowns, two interceptions and a QB rating of 88.7. On the road, he is 2-2 with wins over Tennessee and Jacksonville but has thrown only two touchdowns and has been intercepted twice.

The Patriots are 6-3 for the seventh straight season, matching the all-time record of the Pittsburgh Steelers. Even more remarkable, the Patriots are a combined 17-0 in the second-half of the regular season, dating back to their last loss, a 34-27 loss to the Texans, the same game that Wes Welker suffered a torn ACL.

The Patriots enter the game ranked No. 1 in the NFL in two key categories: total points averaged (33.1) and total yards averaged per game (430.3). While the Colts are ranked fifth at 387.3 yards per game, they have not converted those yards into points, as they averaging just 20.7 points a game.

This is the 10th straight year the Patriots and Colts have met in the regular season. The Patriots are 5-4 in the previous nine, with all four of the losses coming at the hands of Peyton Manning. This is the third straight season the Patriots have hosted the Colts in Foxboro.

Who will be the biggest player in today's Pats-Colts matchup?

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Read More: Andrew Luck, Aqib Talib, Bill Belichick, Indianpolis Colts Print  |  Bark It Up!  |  Digg It
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