|Setting the scene: Patriots-Colts from Gillette Stadium||11.18.12 at 12:55 pm ET|
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.
|Jeff Saturday: Man-hugs with Robert Kraft are done, just handshakes and respect now||11.30.11 at 8:30 pm ET|
FOXBORO — It was one of the most indelible moments of the NFL lockout.
Colts veteran center Jeff Saturday, one of the most vocal leaders of the NFL Players Association, giving a bear hug to Patriots owner Robert Kraft on July 25, the day owners and players finally agreed to a new 10-year bargaining agreement.
But there is one thing Saturday made clear in a conference call with New England reporters on Wednesday.
The hug was sympathy for Kraft’s very ill wife – Myra Kraft, who passed away from cancer just five days earlier. She had given her blessings to the Patriots owner to help bridge the gap between the owners and the players in her final days.
“The hug… that was more just for his wife and that issue,” Saturday said. “We knew as we got close to getting the thing done and as it began to close, we knew how important this was. I think from Jerry Richardson, who was the leader of the ownership group to Jerry Jones and Mr. Kraft and all the guys, the Clark Hunts and John Maras who were there, all those men knew how significant that this deal was.
“A 10-year deal of labor peace, knowing that we both had to compromise but both felt like we could work with this deal and be beneficial for all of our players and most importantly, we’re going to keep our players healthier for longer so that your stars can play longer. I felt really good about it; I know they did as well. As we left, I think we all realized that we had worked very hard to get something accomplished and we were proud of what we put forth. DeMaurice [DeMaurice Smith] and Roger [Roger Goodell], they summed it up at the end, we had a meeting before we all went down to address the press and both of those guys, just seeing how hard they worked and how diligent they both were in getting this deal done – it was a lot of work but something you can be very proud of today.”
Casual fans and those who followed the bitter four-month lockout closely wondered alike if this moment was sincere. Read the rest of this entry »
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