By Peter King
Editor's note: Through a content-sharing partnership with Sports Illustrated and SI.com, occasional articles and information from the magazine and its website will be used on Boston.com. The partnership begins today with some Patriots-related insight from Peter King's popular "Monday Morning Quarterback" column.
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November Sweeps Factoid of the Week: This is the fifth straight year the Colts and Pats have met in the first half of November.
More than all other games, New England-Indy is the game TV loves. This will be the seventh straight year the Colts and Patriots have faced off, and each has been a Super Bowl contender every time they've met. Since the start of the 2003 season, the Colts and Patriots sit atop the NFL with identical 83-21 regular-season records. In the six previous seasons, they've made the playoffs a total of 11 times, and the only time one didn't is last year, when the Patriots lost Tom Brady eight minutes into the season and still finished 11-5, losing the AFC East on a playoff tiebreaker with Miami.
The Peyton vs. Tom angle is always good, and that'll be played up all week. Both survived 2008 knee injuries and are playing superbly again. But in preparing the Manning story, I got this from Qadry Ismail, the former receiver (he played one year for the Colts, 2002, before retiring with a neck injury) who was one of a few people I reached to try to dissect why Manning was playing so well with a new cast of characters this year. Ismail's delightfully opinionated, and the matchup he loves in this game is Manning-Belichick, not Manning-Brady.
"Peyton Manning and Bill Belichick are twins from another lifetime,'' Ismail said. "They both have the same mom and dad. [Writer's Note: That would surprise Archie and Olivia Manning, and Jeannette Belichick.] When I read about Belichick's life, it's Peyton to a T. No matter who you put around Peyton with the Colts, the beat goes on. No matter who you put on Belichick's team, the beat goes on. They don't allow anything to interfere with winning.''
Read more of Peter's look at the Patriots-Colts matchup here.
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In King's power rankings, the Patriots are sixth. The writeup:
Randy Moss, that was one of the best straight-arms in the history of straight-arming. And for you who need to know the rule about helmet-touching, the only player who can't have his helmet touched is the quarterback. So as long as the straight-armer doesn't grab or twist the facemask, it's legal.
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New England left tackle Matt Light has a foundation, as many players do. The Light Foundation strives to instill honesty and responsibility in young people through outdoor learning experiences that include an outdoor leadership camp and a character-development football camp. He's opened his Outdoor Leadership Camp on several hundred acres in Ohio, and he's trying to raise money to bring at-risk and underprivileged teens from New England, Ohio and the West to the camp. I told him I'd help if I could.
What we're going to do is have lunch at Davio's in Foxboro, just outside Gillette Stadium, on Friday, Dec. 11. We're going to open it to the first 10 people willing to donate $1,000 to the Light Foundation. If you're interested, contact Light's representative, Margrette Mondillo, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. We'll hang out that Friday for a couple of hours. Light will tell you every one of the deep, dark Patriot secrets. I won't tell you much, but I'll be there for comic relief.