The New England Patriots are facing the Indianapolis Colts tonight in Foxboro, MA. The AFC divisional round game features two star quarterbacks wearing number twelve. One is a three-time Super Bowl champion; the other is the former number one overall pick and a de-facto future star of the NFL. Both Tom Brady and Andrew Luck are looking to take another step forward in their legacies with tonight’s game.
The Colts are coming off of their dramatic Wild Card Weekend win over the Kansas City Chiefs, in which they overcame a 28-point deficit to pull out the improbable victory. The Patriots have had a bye week in which to get their team as healthy as possible in preparation for a playoff run. In what is expected to be a wet and windy game, the quarterbacks will have significant impact on the final verdict as to who move forward to play in the AFC Championship Game.
When New England has the ball
The Patriots’ offense has been evolving throughout the 2013 season. Losing tight end Aaron Hernandez and letting running back Danny Woodhead and wide receivers Brandon Lloyd and Wes Welker leave has changed the offense dramatically compared to the 2012 version. New England was also without All-Pro tight end Rob Gronkowski for an extended period of time this season. The offense continued to struggle early in the season as free agent wide receiver Danny Amendola missed time and was visibly hampered by injury when he returned. Add in the loss of receiving running back Shane Vereen and most key weapons were on the sidelines.
After a short stretch with the key players returning to the field, the team had to adjust the offense again when losing Gronkowski for the season. Since then, the Patriots’ offense has been operating with power running look. With big back LeGarrette Blount stepping in as the lead running back, the Patriots’ offense has been often loading up with blocking tight ends and fullback James Develin.
While running back Stevan Ridley has run effectively in the last quarter of the season, his reduced role has seen LeGarrette Blount literally and figuratively take the ball and run with it. With injuries to the core of rookie wide receivers in the second half of the season, the Patriots’ passing offense has seemingly focused solely on wide receiver Julian Edelman when passing the ball.
Surprisingly, the keys to victory could rest in the hands of fullback James Develin and tight ends Michael Hoomanawanui and Matthew Mulligan...Click here for much more: http://cover32.com/patriots/2014/01/11/qb-12-rules-the-field-on-both-sides/