FOXBORO, MA - JANUARY 10: Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots looks on in the first half against the Baltimore Ravens during the 2010 AFC wild-card playoff game at Gillette Stadium on January 10, 2010 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
QB Tom Brady
The offense has been hitting on all cylinders the past few weeks, and the Colts pass defense is pedestrian (15th in passing yards allowed, but they’ve given up 15 TDs against just 4 picks). With the Indy offense expected to keep things reasonably close in this game, Brady should have no trouble racking up 300+ yards and 2-3 scores.
WRs Wes Welker, Brandon Lloyd
Welker could be primed for a huge game with a lot of the other elements of New England’s passing game feeling a bit gimpy. I’d be surprised if he ended up with fewer than 7 catches and 120 yards. Lloyd has fallen short of my projections for several straight weeks, and he hasn’t gotten a ton of looks the past few games. However, he has been targeted heavily in the red zone (two TDs against the Rams and two PIs in the end zone last week), so it’s tough to bench him. I wouldn’t project more than 75 yards for him, but I like his chances of finding the end zone.
RBs Stevan Ridley, Shane Vereen, Danny Woodhead
None of these backs did anything to change the pecking order of this group last week. Ridley is still the lead dog and a good bet for more than 100 yards and a score, but Woodhead could push for a few more touches after Vereen **** the bed last week. I’d be willing to roll with Woodhead in a flex this week against a bad Colts run D and hope for 50 total yards, but Vereen is probably bench fodder for now.
TEs Rob Gronkowski, Aaron Hernandez
Gronk was an unexpectedly small part in the gameplan last week, but he still found the end zone. He’s a bit dinged up right now, but I think it’s safe to project 75 yards and a score this week. Hernandez was a surprise late scratch last week after suffering a setback late in the week, and he was limited in practice again this week. If he plays, he’s probably a safe bet to rack up 50 yards and a score, but you’ll need to check his status before putting him in the lineup.
New England Defense/Special Teams
The Indy offense has been above average with Luck under center, and he’s done an admirable job of protecting the ball and avoiding bad rookie mistakes. The line has also kept him upright for the most part. I wouldn’t expect more than 1-2 sacks and 1 turnover, and the Colts should have no trouble putting up north of 20 points. The Pats D isn’t a great option this week.