Find the Clutch
For as badly as the Patriots got beaten in back-to-back weeks by the Cowboys and Saints, the mistakes that killed them earlier this season have been getting better of late. Start with the turnovers. After a -8 turnover differential through the first five games, they’ve improved to +3 over the last four games and have not had more than one turnover in any of those games. Now, there’s a quality vs. quantity debate here to highlight, as the team’s only turnover against Washington essentially costs the game, but the overall improvement in one of the most important areas that leads to winning games is still there. That has given the Patriots a legitimate chance to win all four of these recent games, yet they were only able to get over the hump against Buffalo because they finally found some clutch. Had they found it again vs. the Commanders they likely would’ve stolen a victory, along with the Raiders game. So despite all the team’s warts to this point it would seem that continued ball security and forced takeaways, with a dash of the all-important clutch play down the stretch might just be enough for New England to get a W in Frankfurt.
Don’t get Moss-Taylor’d
New England got an up-close look at the damage Jonathan Taylor can do two years ago when he posted 170 rushing yards in a season-changing Week 15 win over the Patriots. Taylor, along with Zach Moss, are key pieces of the Colts attack, as Indy ranks 11th in rushing attempts, 10th in rushing yards and fifth in rushing touchdowns. They’ve broken 100 yards rushing in six of their nine games, as well as over 160 rushing yards in two of their last three games. New England’s run defense has been one of the team’s bright spots, they’re 11th in rushing yards allowed, but this will be one of their toughest tests yet.
Make Minshew Mess up
Minshew has done what Minshew does for the Colts this season, putting up some impressive numbers sprinkled with some frustrating mistakes. The net result has been a 2-3 record as the backup has done enough to keep the Colts on the fringe of the playoffs. Last week against the Panthers, Minshew broke a three-game interception streak, as he was called upon to produce just 127 passing yards and a touchdown in the victory. The key stat though? Minshew has been sacked just once in his two wins, but a whopping nine times in the losses. Pass rush will be key to keeping the Colts offense grounded.
Careful of Kenny
Kenny Moore is one of those rare players who let the Patriots get away. A talented slot corner, the team had him in New England in 2017 as an undrafted rookie but were unable to retain him after cutdown day due to their existing depth. Moore has gone on to an outstanding career with the Colts and showed it against the Panthers last week when he had two pick-sixes. Moore is a problem because he’ll likely be in the middle of the field where Mac Jones often targets. If Moore is on Pop Douglas it could force Mac to look elsewhere. The biggest thing however will not be letting Moore change the game with a defensive score. He has 17 career interceptions, three pick-sixes and a 2021 Pro Bowl to his name.