NEW ENGLAND (9-4) at INDIANAPOLIS (7-6)
Saturday, 8:15 p.m. EST, Fox/NFL Network
BETTING LINE: Colts by 2 1/2, according to .
AGAINST THE SPREAD: New England 9-4; Indianapolis 8-5.
SERIES RECORD: Patriots lead 52-29.
LAST MEETING: Patriots beat Colts 38-24 on Dec. 4, 2018 in Foxborough, Massachusetts.
LAST WEEK: Patriots had bye, beat Bills 14-10 on Dec. 6; Colts had bye, beat Texans 31-0 on Dec. 5.
PATRIOTS OFFENSE: OVERALL (18), RUSH (9), PASS (18), SCORING (10).
PATRIOTS DEFENSE: OVERALL (3), RUSH (19), PASS (3), SCORING (1).
COLTS OFFENSE: OVERALL (11), RUSH (2), PASS (21), SCORING (4).
COLTS DEFENSE: OVERALL (14), RUSH (16), PASS (12), SCORING (T-9).
TURNOVER DIFFERENTIAL: Patriots plus-10; Colts plus-13.
PATRIOTS PLAYER TO WATCH: QB Mac Jones. Despite throwing just three passes in a victory over Buffalo, he leads all rookies with 2,869 yards passing and 16 touchdown passes. With 131 yards and four more TDs, Jones will become the 15th rookie in league history to produce 3,000 yards and 20 TDs.
COLTS PLAYER TO WATCH: RB Jonathan Taylor. The Pats have dominated this series largely by challenging Indy’s passing game. This time, the Colts will lean heavily on the NFL’s top runner. Taylor has rushed for 100 yards in seven of the last 10 games and can tie Lenny Moore’s franchise record with a TD run in his 11th straight contest.
KEY MATCHUP: Pats LB Matthew Judon vs. Indy offensive line. The two-time Pro Bowler has rejuvenated New Englandâs defense and his 12 1/2 sacks are tied with Mike Vrabel and Chandler Jones for the most in a season during Bill Belichickâs tenure with the Pats. Indy’s offensive line, meanwhile, has allowed a league-low 93 sacks since 2018. It needs to keep QB Carson Wentz upright and open holes for Taylor to win Saturday.
KEY INJURIES: Late bye weeks helped both teams stay relatively healthy heading into Week 15. Jones is dealing with a thumb injury on his non-throwing hand but has not missed practice. Center David Andrews (shoulder), RT Trent Brown (calf/wrist), RB Damien Harris (hamstring), S Adrian Phillips (knee) and K Nick Folk (left knee) all were limited in practice Tuesday and Wednesday. Linebackers Ronnie Perkins (ankle) and Chase Winovich (illness) sat out Wednesday. The only Colts starters on the injury report were LB Bobby Okereke, who missed the first two practices with an undisclosed illness, and tight end Jack Doyle (ankle), who did limited work Wednesday. Center Ryan Kelly appears primed to return after missing Indy’s previous game because of a positive COVID-19 test.
SERIES Game notes
Indianapolis has lost eight straight against the Patriots since a win in 2009. Six of those eight were played at New England and two were playoff games. … The Pats are tied with Kansas City for most consecutive 30-point games in a series. New England has done it nine straight times against the Colts. The Chiefs did it nine times against Denver from 1964-68 in the AFL. … Pats offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels accepted the Colts’ coaching job that eventually went to Frank Reich when McDaniels backed out of the deal in 2018. … There have been many memorable games in this rivalry including Belichick’s failed fourth-and-2 call in 2009 and Indy’s failed fake punt in 2015.
STATS AND STUFF: New England enters the weekend with seven straight wins while holding the AFC’s top seed. … A win would give the Patriots their 27th 10-win season since the 1970 merger, breaking a tie with Pittsburgh and Dallas for No. 1 in the league. … Belichick is 16-6 against Indy with New England and 18-8 overall. … Jones has led New England to a 6-0 road mark this season and needs one more road win to break a tie with Dak Prescott (2016) and Ben Roethlisberger (2004) for the NFL’s rookie record. … Jones also needs one more game with a completion percentage of 70% to tie Prescott’s rookie record (eight). … K Nick Folk leads the NFL with 33 field goals, which matches his career best. .. New England has scored in the first half of an NFL record 99 consecutive games and the Pats’ defense allows a league-low 15.4 points per game. … Indy has won four of its last five and has moved into the No. 6 slot in the AFC playoff chase. Seven teams will make the postseason field. … Wentz is 241 yards passing short of reaching 20,000 in his career. … Taylor needs two touchdowns to tie Moore’s single-season franchise record for total scores (20) â a mark that was set in 1964. … Taylor also needs two scores to tie Clinton Portis for the second-most TDs (31) before a player turns 23 years old. … With eight receptions, WR T.Y. Hilton will tie Hall of Famer Raymond Berry for the third most in Colts history (631). … Two-time All-Pro LB Darius Leonard is three tackles away from becoming the fifth Indy player with four straight 100-tackle seasons. … Indy’s 29 takeaways and 119 points off turnovers are both No. 1 in the NFL. … Only Arizona and Tampa Bay have more 30-point games this season than Indianapolis (seven). The Cardinals and Buccaneers each have eight.
FANTASY TIP: Take Taylor â again. Yes, Belichick has a penchant for taking away the top option from opposing offenses. But Taylor has been the most consistent fantasy option since the start of October. He’s produced at least 100 yards from scrimmage and rushed for a score in all but one game since then, earning consecutive AFC offensive player of the month awards in October and November. The Patriots’ run defense is ranked No. 19, too.