From a fantasy football POV (Point Of View), the Patriots have the better offense, defense, special teams and placekicker. They also have extensive playoff experience and quarterback Tom Brady.
Indianapolis relies on two talented, emotional leaders – quarterback Andrew Luck and outside linebacker Robert Mathis. The Colts outscored the Chiefs 35-14 in the second half to win the game, 45-44, in an AFC Wild Card game last weekend.
Luck, who finished with four touchdown passes and three interceptions, will have to eliminate the turnovers if he hopes to beat New England. Mathis will need more than one sack, one tackle and one assist in the game.
Brady had a less productive than normal season from a fantasy football POV. He finished No. 13 among quarterbacks in scoring with 291 fantasy points and threw 26 touchdown passes to his Patriot teammates.
Wide receiver Julian Edelman, who finished second in team scoring with 201.5 fantasy points, is Brady’s favorite target. New England has a trio of running backs - LaGarrette Blount (132 points), RB Stevan Ridley (113) and Shave Vereen (106.5) – that can run the ball and catch passes out of the backfield.
The Colts will counter with Luck passing to favorite target T.Y. Hilton and their trio of running backs consisting of Donald Brown, Trent Richardson and Vick Ballard. Tight end Coby Fleener became a critical target for Luck in last weekend’s wild card win.
With All-Pro tight end Rob Gronkowski on the Injured Reserve list, Brady has turned to wide receivers Danny Amendola and Kenbrell Thompkins to support Edelman in the passing offense of the Patriots. Thompkins is listed as “questionable” for the game, so ex-Colt Austin Collie may have to step into the lineup.
New England’s defense was No. 9 and Indianapolis’ “D” was No. 10 in fantasy football during the regular season, so the two defenses are evenly matched. The Patriots rely on defensive end Rob Ninkowski and linebacker Dont’a Hightower to stuff the opposition’s running attack and cornerback Logan Ryan to lead the secondary. Ryan has five interceptions with one being returned for a touchdown.
It is strictly a numbers game and the Patriots have more scorers and a home field advantage that should move them into the AFC championship game next weekend.