In another special edition of the NFL in Germany, the Indianapolis Colts will take on the New England Patriots on Sunday morning (11/12/23) at 9:30 a.m. Get Colts vs. Patriots odds, picks and predictions below as our best bet is Colts -1.5.
Colts vs. Patriots Prediction
Before the season started, few would have expected the Colts to be favorites in this game – especially considering that Anthony Richardson is out for the year. But this iteration of the Patriots is the worst since before the Tom Brady era. It’s hard for them to be favored over anyone. The team is in such dire straits that rumors of the unthinkable have begun to circulate – the mid-season firing of Bill Belichick.
It’s hard to deny that the legendary coach’s best work is in the past. The argument can be made that no coach could find success with this roster, especially given injuries to star edge rusher Matthew Judon and talented rookie cornerback Christian Gonzalez. But Belichick himself assembled the roster as the team’s general manager. His roster-building acumen has eroded tremendously. While he might still be a solid coach, especially on the defensive side, it’s going to be hard to strip him of the GM role while keeping him on the sideline. So a firing might be necessary if he refuses to step aside.
Such a move going down mid-season would be controversial for someone who has accomplished as much as Belichick has in New England. It might happen in the offseason. But a loss in Germany could leave the Patriots fully ready to part with their legendary leader. The stakes are high on New England’s side, and Indianapolis would love to be the squad to end the Belichick era. The Colts have been on the other end of so many iconic New England wins.
Indianapolis is not out of the postseason race. It has played much better football than expected in many ways. The offense and defense both rank 12th in the league in DVOA, the sign of a very competent squad from top to bottom. The Patriots offense has shown no ability to move the ball against healthy NFL defenses in recent weeks. Nor will they be able to slow the surprisingly efficient Gardner Minshew air attack.
The concept of Bill Belichick coaching for his job is a weird one. We’ll take it a step further and say he’ll fail in this crucial spot. We’ll have to wait and see if the Patriots follow through and validate the rumors, if changes go down after the season, or if nothing changes at all.
Colts vs. Patriots Prediction: Colts -1.5
Colts vs. Patriots Best Odds
The Colts are 1.5 point favorites for this special neutral site game, or you can grab them on the moneyline at -120. The Patriots are an even +100 to win. Both sides of the total of 43.5 are set at -110.
Colts vs. Patriots Key Injuries
Offensive tackle Trent Brown and defensive back J.C. Jackson have been missing from practice for the Patriots. Indy could be missing emerging rookie wideout Josh Downs.
Colts vs. Patriots Key Matchups
The Patriots will have to find a way to establish themselves on the ground against a relatively vulnerable Colts run defense, while Indianapolis will look to keep throwing the ball well against a terrible New England pass defense.
Patriots Rushing Offense vs. Colts Run Defense
If there’s been a relative positive when it comes to the Patriots offense, it would be the ground game. New England ranks a solid 12th in success rate on offensive rushing snaps, and 17th in rushing offense DVOA. They only rank 20th in adjusted line yards and 21st in PFF’s run blocking grades, so the runners have been creating for themselves, which is not often a sustainable trend. Both of the team’s top rushers, Rhamondre Stevenson and Ezekiel Elliott, are averaging below 4 yards per carry. So it’s not quite an elite unit, just better than the team’s anemic air attack.
They’ll be going up against a Colts run defense that ranks outside of the top 20 in each of run defense EPA, DVOA and success rate. Linebacker Shaquille Leonard has been solid in stopping the run, although not at his own highest level, as he’s experienced a relative down year in terms of tackling. E.J. Speed has picked up some of the slack in a breakout year. Zaire Franklin hasn’t been consistently excellent, but he does lead the NFL in total tackles with 102 already, so he’s been a force in his own right.
Colts Air Attack vs. Patriots Pass Defense
Gardner Minshew hasn’t been fantastic by any stretch of the imagination, but he hasn’t stopped the Colts from ranking a very respectable 13th in passing offense DVOA. The offensive line has done a decent job as well, placing 15th in adjusted sack rate, anchored by center Ryan Kelly in what has been a nice year for the veteran. Michael Pittman Jr. is well on his way to another 1,000-yard receiving season. Rookie wideout Josh Downs is right on his heels, although he is dealing with some health issues at the moment.
The Patriots don’t have many answers in the defensive backfield. With Gonzalez out, safety Jabrill Peppers has been the only decent pass defender as the entire cornerback group has been profoundly disappointing. The pass rush without Judon does not get nearly enough pressure, ranking 13th in pressure rate despite blitzing at the fourth-highest rate. That’s due in large part to the league’s third-worst adjusted sack rate from the D-line. This is a brutal unit, and they’ll be hard-pressed to stop a quietly solid Colts air game.