Line: Patriots -6.5

The Indianapolis Colts and the New England Patriots face off in the AFC Championship game on Sunday evening in New England. The Colts went into these playoffs playing about as well as any team in the league and it showed in a dominant Wild Card round win over the Bengals. In the divisional round they had to go into Denver and face a Bronco team led by future Hall of Fame quarterback Peyton Manning. Luck replaced Manning as the quarterback of the Colts and now he can say he eliminated his predecessor from the playoffs after last weeks 24-13 Colts win that puts the Colts on the brink of going to the Superbowl. The Broncos had gone 8-0 at home this season while averaging 35 points per game. That is until they ran into an underrated Colts defense they held Manning to 26/46 passing for only 211 yards and one touchdown. Luck was far from perfect but productive enough while going 27/43 for 265 yards and two touchdowns as well as 2 interceptions. The Clts have had instability at running back all year long but appear to have found an every down back in Dan Herron. He had 22 carries for 63 yards and a touchdown.

The Patriots renewed their rivalry with the Ravens in the divisional round, a rivalry that the Ravens have had the upper hand in recent years. In the first half it looked as if the Ravens success would continue as they held a 21-14 lead, however quarterback Tom Brady would have none of it. Running an offense that all but completely abandoned the run Brady threw 3 second half touchdown passes while going 33/50 for 292 yards and 4 touchdowns overall. Wide receiver Julian Edelman also threw a touchdown pass on a trick play to help secure the trip to the conference championship. Tight End Rob Gronkowski continued his dominance with 7 catches for 108 yards and a touchdown. Wide receiver Danny Amendola had 5 catches for 81 yards and 2 touchdowns as he saved his best performance as a Patriot for a big game.

The Colts have been blown out all three times that they have faced the Patriots during Luck’s career. This will be Brady’s 9th conference championship game, which is a record. A Patriot win would be there 8th and tie them with the Steelers for the most Superbowl’s of all time. Luck has a 53.8 career completion percentage against the Patriots with 6 touchdowns and 8 interceptions. A key for the Colts may be the ability of Luck to extend plays with his legs and allow his receivers to get open. The Patriots are very unpredictable as evidenced by their abandoning of the running game last week. There is no telling what game plan they may have in store for the Colts. The health of Colts cornerbacks Vontae Davis and Greg Toler (both of whom missed practice on Wednesday) will be key in stopping the Brady and the passing game. Either way it should be an exciting contest.

Pick: Patriots -6.5

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