Two teams that are in the middle of strong seasons and coming off a bye week face off on Sunday Night Football. The Patriots are the winners of five straight, including their blow out statement win over the Broncos in Week 9. They have gone undefeated since losing to the Chiefs in week 4 and look like they are preparing for another playoff run. Historically the team uses the information learned during the early part of the season and implements changes during the bye week. Coach Bill Belichick is second to none when it comes to attention to detail and the bye week is certain to only help New England. Quarterback Tom Brady is sneaking into the MVP conversation with his phenomenal play over recent weeks. Brady went 33-53 for 333 passing yards and 4 touchdowns against the Broncos in his 200th career start and it gave him his 155th win. Tight End Rob Gronkowski is the most direct link to the team’s recent success as he was playing limited snaps early in the season. Now he is at full strength and is once again the top tight end in the NFL and one of the top offensive weapons in all of football. He finished last week with 9 catches for 105 yards and a touchdown. Julian Edelman has become one of the top slot receivers in the league and he had 9 catches for 89 yards and a touchdown last week. Early in the season it appeared the team had no true Number One receiver on the outside however former Panther Brandon Lafell has stepped up and become Brady’s top target outside of the numbers.
After starting the season 0-2 many people in Indianapolis started to panic but the players in the locker room and the coaching staff stayed patient and the result is a 6-3 record and a playoff spot in their own control. The team played the Giants on Monday Night Football prior to the bye week and were able to get their 6th win. They had gotten blown out by the Steelers the prior week and rebounded well with a 40-23 blow out win. Quarterback Andrew Luck was 25-46 for 354 yards and 4 touchdowns. It was the franchise record 7th consecutive week in which Luck threw for 300 yards in a game. The team has a two-headed running attack that features Ahmad Bradshaw and Trent Richardson. Bradshaw has been more productive and is a much better receiver out of the backfield. Wide receiver T.Y Hilton is the most productive of a strong group at wide receiver
It is tough to predict how teams will perform after a bye week. With both teams coming off the bye, it is likely that both will be well rested and prepared. Both teams are almost certain to get production in the passing game so the difference may be in the running game. Whichever team gets the running game going will have a big advantage.
Sportsbooks offering NFL Betting for US Players:
Sportsbooks offering NFL Betting for Canadians: