The New England Patriots and the Indianapolis Colts' long standing rivalry won't look right today without Peyton Manning facing off against Tom Brady.
Furthermore, the fact that the Colts are a winless team without Manning, and the Patriots are enjoying a three game winning streak during which time they have scored at least 30 points in every game, could make this rivalry irrelevant today.
Without Manning, the Colts have fallen apart both offensively and defensively. This past week alone they have changed their starting quarterback, from the unimpressive Curtis Painter to the equally inept Dan Orlovsky, as well as firing their defensive coordinator.
That's not ideal preparation when you are facing a franchise that is notorious for showing no mercy to the opposition, especially against an AFC rival such as the Colts.
While this may be considered a write off to many fans, Bill Belichick made it clear this week that he is not taking the Colts lightly, for good reason too.
The Colts may lack talent defensively, and their most important piece on offense, but for this game at least, they should have plenty of motivation. Without a win all season, the team has turned in plenty of lackluster performances.
Despite not being that talented, the roster still has some playmakers on both sides of the ball.
Reggie Wayne and Dallas Clark may not be having stellar seasons, but if Orlovsky can give them the opportunity to, both have the potential to take over any football game. Similarly, Robert Mathis and Dwight Freeney could destroy the Patriots' gameplan as they go against the larger Patriots' tackles on the outside.
Even though the key to stopping Brady is getting pressure through the middle, there is little he can do if Freeney and Mathis are draped all over him all day.
Ultimately this game should be a comfortable victory for the Patriots. Any team that enters a game with Tom Brady opposed to Dan Orlovsky at quarterback should have a decisive advantage.
However stranger things have happened in the NFL.
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