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Breaking Down the Fantasy Matchups in the Colts-Patriots Matchup

Colts WR Reggie Wayne vs. Patriots secondary

It should be cornerback Ellis Hobbs on Wayne, but Hobbs was hurt twice last week, leaving in the fourth quarter with a shoulder injury. You have to wonder how healthy the Patriots cornerbacks are. Deltha O’Neal was pressed back into action late, even though he had suffered a concussion earlier in the game. Wayne is due to break out. He has had just five catches in the past two weeks, mostly due to double teams, but some of it is quarterback Peyton Manning forcing the ball when he shouldn’t.

Colts QB Peyton Manning vs. Patriots pass defense

Manning hasn’t been himself. His passer rating is at its worst since his rookie year, 1998. That doesn’t bode well for him when he’s facing the Patriots’ 3-4 defense that has befuddled him in the past. The Patriots have always discussed that the book on Manning is to pressure him and get the feet moving on his throws. Defensive end Richard Seymour has yet to sack Manning in seven starts, but the more important aspect is pressure. Linebacker Adalius Thomas is the player who has been accounting for sacks lately. The Patriots’ need for pressure is doubly important when you consider how banged up their secondary is.

Colts TE Dallas Clark vs. Patriots linebackers and safeties

This has been key. Strong safety Rodney Harrison (knee – Injured Reserve) was credited with doing a great job on Clark last year. It was actually Harrison and his friends, who made sure to bump Clark to disrupt his timing and routes. Clark is the Colts’ hottest receiver of late, with 15 catches and two touchdowns in the past two weeks. Expect a linebacker to bump Clark early, then a safety to pick him up on deep routes. The Patriots probably won’t count on linebackers in coverage for the entire game. Manning will be looking to establish Clark early.

Patriots OTs Matt Light and Mark LeVoir, Wesley Britt or Nick Kaczur vs. Colts DLs Dwight Freeney, Robert Mathis and Raheem Brock

Light especially has always struggled against small, quick defensive linemen – i.e., Freeney. Though he has only three sacks against New England (the last of which came in the 2004 playoffs), it seemed he was always in the Pats’ backfield pressuring quarterback Tom Brady (knee). Mathis and Brock also have good numbers against the Patriots, and with Kaczur still dealing with an ankle injury, they may be able to take advantage of more inexperienced LeVoir and Britt. New England quarterback Matt Cassel has already been sacked 28 times this season.

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