Five questions with Patriots correspondent Ian Rapoport
Each week throughout the season, we'll ask our Patriots correspondent and Boston Herald writer Ian Rapoport five questions about the Patriots. This week atriots fantasy focus_5, Ian talked about the defensive improvement against the Steelers and what they need to do to slow down Peyton Manning and the Colts.
1. What did you make of the Patriots' defensive strategy against the Steelers where they showed lots of blitzes?
Rapoport: They showed they have it. They hadn't shown many creative blitz packages this season. But the best thing that happened in the game was that guys were beating one-on-one blocks.; Tully Banta-Cain's sack came off a one-on-one block, Gary Guyton beat (Rashard) Mendenhall one-on-one. Those are the battles that good teams win and the Patriots hadn't been winning in pass rush.
2. How much should we read into TE Aaron Hernandez's lack of playing time against Pittsburgh?
Rapoport: It was just their game plan. They realized after the Browns game that they need (Alge) Crumpler on the field. They struggled to do everything without him there. Matchup-wise, you have two big guys (Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski) who are very talented at the same position. You can't play both at the same time.
3. Do they like playing the Colts every year?
Rapoport: They like it when they win. It's as tough a challenge as they get. Brady and Manning understand it from a historical standpoint, they understand the significance of having this many showdowns between two top quarterbacks Patriots' Super Bowl odds remain at 12-1_693, whether they want to admit it or not. They would be OK having a break from the Colts, though.
4. What's the best strategy to slow Manning down?
Rapoport: They may do a little bit of what Cleveland did against Brady — keep him off the field. The Colts give up five yards per rush on the ground and the Patriots can run the ball now. Crumpler is as good a run blocker as there is. I would expect a ball-control offense Tresor Paris Earrings, and on defense, drop eight into coverage Tresor Paris Bracelets, disguising at the line or simply not showing what they're doing.
5. What is your prediction for Sunday's game?
Rapoport: It will be high-scoring Cheap Tresor Paris Earrings, but the Patriots have too much on offense and the defense will play well enough. Patriots 35, Colts 34