1. Be ready for a fight This yearís game doesnít quite have the cachet of those in years past, but it will actually be more important to the Colts than any of those highly touted matchups. After Mondayís 31-21 loss to the unbeaten Titans, the 3-4 Colts will be fighting for their playoff lives on Sunday night. Indianapolis will also likely see its run of five straight AFC South Division titles end; Tennessee holds a four-game lead.
2. Run around The Patriotsí pass protection was much improved against the Rams, which should prove integral against Indianapolis and defensive ends Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis (right). Although Freeney and Mathis have combined for eight sacks, the Colts have just 10 as a team ó 28th in the NFL. Despite being without strong safety Bob Sanders, the Colts have the second-best pass defense in the league. They havenít fared as well against the run, allowing 144.1 yards per game (26th in the NFL). The Patriots will hope for the return of Sammy Morris or LaMont Jordan, because Kevin Faulk and BenJarvus Green-Ellis combined for just 76 yards on the ground against St. Louis.
3. Take away the pass Peyton Manning is coming off preseason knee surgery, and the Coltsí passing game hasnít been as effective as it normally is, at ninth in the NFL. Manning has just 10 touchdown passes in seven games after averaging 35 per year the past four seasons. But the offensive struggles arenít all Manningís fault; the Colts have suffered injuries on the offensive line and have the worst rushing offense in football at 73.4 yards per game. The lack of a consistent running attack has taken away one of Manningís top weapons, the play-action pass. If the Patriotsí run defense is as solid as it has been the past two weeks, the game will likely hinge on the depleted secondaryís ability to contain the passing game.