Belichick, Patriots ready for the Colts

Nov 1, 2007 - 3:34 AM By Mike Petraglia PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

FOXBORO, Massachusetts (Ticker) - New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick has always been able to pick out one or two aspects of an upcoming game and use them as motivational tools for his team.

On Wednesday morning, he did the same with the media gathering at Gillette Stadium, all on hand to preview one of the most anticipated regular season games in recent NFL history.

"Good morning everybody, we have a nice turnout today," said a smiling Belichick as he looked out to over 50 reporters and 14 cameras in the media room that is usually filled with half that amount.

The defending Super Bowl champion Indianapolis Colts enter the game Sunday afternoon with a 7-0 record while Belichick's Patriots are 8-0, playing their final game before their bye week. It will be their first meeting since Indianapolis overcame a 21-6 halftime deficit to record a 38-34 win in last January's AFC title game at the RCA Dome, the site of this Sunday's showdown.

For the first time since 1923, two unbeaten teams are meeting in a game in November and for the first time ever, both teams with perfect records have at least seven wins.

While the defending Super Bowl champion Colts have not been beaten, the Patriots are dismantling teams in record fashion. New England has scored a combined 149 points in its last three games, marking the highest three-game margin since the Los Angeles Rams scored 163 points in three games in the 1950 season.

The Rams hold the all-time average scoring mark, ringing up 38.8 points per game while the Patriots are currently scoring at a 41.4 points per game average.

But Belichick spent Wednesday talking about the strengths of his opponent and what makes Peyton Manning so dangerous.

"They don't have any sacks," Belichick said of the NFL-low five sacks allowed by the Colts offensive line. "They don't have turnovers. They don't fumble. They don't have very many penalties and they don't have very many negative runs. They're right at the top of the league in all of those categories. They make you earn everything and it's hard to get.

"I think all of the exemplary statistics that they have speak for themselves, starting with wins, all of their rankings and all of their production and everything. It's very, very impressive what they've done."

Patriots quarterback Tom Brady has already thrown for a career-high 30 touchdown passes and is in line to break every significant single-season passing mark.

"I think statistics in general for a quarterback don't mean a whole lot in that you can tell a guy's playing pretty good or not," Brady said.

"You can tell that when you look at the film, but like I said (last week) after the Miami game, I threw a three-yard pass and Donte' (Stallworth) runs for 30 yards. I mean, how great of a play is that by the quarterback? It's just you can throw an 8-yard completion and it's not run in for a touchdown and you have a lesser passing rating. It just doesn't mean a whole lot. Touchdowns, to me, those are very much team goals and scoring goals."

Brady won the first six meetings between the two star quarterbacks while Manning has captured the last three, including last season in the AFC Championship game.

The Patriots are expecting their biggest test yet going up against the Colts defense, considered one of the fastest in the game.

"They do so many things well, but I would say the most impressive thing that I've seen is defensively they just don't give up any big plays, really," Belichick added. "They don't give many long runs. They don't give many long passes. They don't have many defensive penalties, and the same thing is true on the offensive side of the ball."

Beyond their records this season, the two teams have impressive regular season streaks on the line. Indianapolis has won 12 straight overall and eight straight in the regular season while New England is on an 11-game regular season run, second only to its NFL-record 18-game streak of 2003-04.

Since 2003, the Patriots and Colts have matched up in the AFC Championship Game twice, with the each team winning on its home field. Sunday's winner will have the inside track to hosting again should the two meet again in January.

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