Indianapolis Colts vs. New England Patriots Prediction: Can the Colts Snap the Patriots' Winning Streak?

The Indianapolis Colts take on the New England Patriots in a Week 15 AFC battle. Can the Pats extend their win streak to 8 games? NFL expert Mike Spector gives his pick here.
Mike Spector |
Tue, December 14, 11:44 AM EST | 4 min read
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Indianapolis Colts vs. New England Patriots Prediction: Can the Colts Snap the Patriots' Winning Streak?

The New England Patriots and Indianapolis Colts both enter this high-profile AFC matchup rested off bye weeks, and both are playoff teams at the moment. New England currently holds the No. 1 seed in the conference, while Indianapolis has used a mid-season resurgence to get to 7-6, which is now good for the No. 6 seed in the AFC. So who wins this potential playoff preview?

Indianapolis Colts vs. New England Patriots Start Time, Where to Watch, and Odds

  • Date: Saturday, December 18, 2021
  • Game Time: 8:15 p.m. ET
  • Where To Watch: NFL Network

Click Here For Colts vs Patriots Odds

Indianapolis Colts vs. New England Patriots Injury Report

Patriots

Questionable: LB Ronnie Perkins, S Adrian Phillips, RB Damien HarrisOut: TE Dalton Keene

Colts

Questionable: C Ryan KellyOut: LB Zaire Franklin

Indianapolis Colts vs. New England Patriots Betting Line Movement

Colts vs. Patriots Prediction

Given how jumbled the AFC standings are, New England’s win over Buffalo two weeks ago catapulted them to what could have been the No. 5 or No. 6 seed if they had lost to the conference’s top seed. It was a historic victory for many reasons, as Bill Belichick showed his true genius in a game that had difficult playing conditions. Mac Jones attempted three passes in the blustering wind, tied for the second-fewest pass attempts in the Super Bowl era. In addition, the Patriots became the first team to rush on 90 percent of their plays since the 1978 Saints.

New England essentially told Buffalo they would run the ball all game, and the Bills did not offer much resistance. The Patriots rush for 5.4 yards per carry against Buffalo’s loaded boxes (eight or more defenders in the box) per NFL Next Gen Stats. In all, the win was New England’s second victory with 14 or fewer points since 2014.

Indianapolis has won six of their last eight games after a 1-4 start. Part of that was the schedule lightening up, as the Colts have beaten just two teams with winning records during the 6-2 run. Conversely, Indianapolis had a historically demanding schedule to start the season, as their first five opponents all won at least ten games last year. The Colts have ridden the back of the NFL’s leading rusher Jonathan Taylor, whose 1,348 rushing yards are more than 300 yards better than the next closest running back. Indianapolis also has a top-nine scoring defense, allowing 21.8 PPG.

With this game being played at Lucas Oil Stadium, Belichick will get back to a more typical game plan with elements not being a factor. However, the Patriots could use the services of running back Damien Harris, who left the Buffalo game with a hamstring injury and still carries a questionable tag for this game. Harris is likely to be limited in practice all week, and bettors will want to monitor how he progresses during the week.

Damien Harris and Jonathan Taylor have been home run threats for their respective offenses. Taylor (ten) and Harris (seven) rank first and third, respectively, with the most 20+ yard, carries this season. Thus, if Harris is ultimately forced to miss some time, it takes away a big piece of explosiveness from the Patriots offense.

For Indianapolis to be successful, Carson Wentz must take care of the football. In the Colts’ seven wins this season, he has an 11:0 TD:INT ratio. Wentz has thrown five interceptions in their six losses and has not had a QBR exceeding 63. Indianapolis’ +13 turnover margin leads the league. New England’s defense has 26 takeaways this year (tied for third-most), so if the Colts can play mistake-free football, they have more offensive firepower than New England.

The Patriots have covered each of their last seven games (including four road games), so many bettors will find it peculiar that they are road underdogs coming off a bye week. However, the Colts have been great off byes over the last several seasons, going 4-1-1 ATS in their previous six such games. Indianapolis is also 19-9 ATS in their previous 28 games against teams with a winning record, which has us confident that oddsmakers appropriately made them favorites this week.

As long as this number stays less than -3, we fully endorse a play on Indianapolis.

Colts vs. Patriots Pick

Mike Spector
@MikeSpector01

Mike Spector brings unmatched knowledge and insight into the game of football, and more importantly the process of betting on NFL football. Mike is the #2 ranked expert in FantasyPros' NFL betting contest

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