2003 Season NFL Football Past Picks

January 18, 2004

This pick was released to clients on August 15, 2012 at 5:33PM ET.

18

Indianapolis at New England

Sunday 01/18 03:00 PM Eastern

4 units on New England -3 (-110) (risk 4 to return 7.64)  RESULT: WIN

Peyton’s been 99% perfect two games in a row now. Against two teams that were good enough to make the playoffs, no less. Last game was even on the road. This guy’s on a mission and its tough to tell if anyone can slow him down. The Broncos and the Chiefs didn’t even come close. Due largely to Manning’s performances, the Colts haven’t punted during the postseason! We all know about the Chief’s defense which explains last week. The Broncos had a pretty good defense during the regular season but played absolutely horribly in the Wildcard game. They put no pressure on whatsoever on Manning, who has shown that if he isn’t pressured, he will beat any team in the league. The million dollar question this weekend for me is: Can the Patriots slow down Peyton Manning? I think they have an excellent shot. The Patriots defense is a unique one. Belichick is a defensive mastermind. He throws so many different looks at opposing offenses and quarterbacks that they have a tough time telling what’s coming. This is super-important this weekend against Manning, who likes to change plays at the line of scrimmage based on what he sees. He will have a much tougher time calling audibles this weekend than the past two weeks (the Pats successfully confused him in their win earlier this year). The Patriots defense allowed the fewest passing touchdowns this year (just 11) in the league. They also had the most interceptions. They racked up five more sacks than the Chiefs and Broncos. The Patriots were tops in the league this year in opponent’s passer rating – by a long shot. And, the Pats have allowed just 36 points in their last seven home games. That’s 5 points a game, sports-fans!! I think Bill Belichick will, with this great defense, throw a wrench in Manning’s perfect postseason. I think there is a good chance they will cause a turnover or two (they were +17 in turnover ratio this year) and do enough to allow Tom Brady to win this game and cover the spread. If they do win the turnover battle, the Patriots should win the game. They are 11-0 when they had the turnover advantage this year. My Systems and Power Ratings back up my thoughts on this one (see below). Freezing temperatures and snow are expected on Sunday, making it difficult on a dome team like Indy. Yes, last week was on the road but it was mild sunny weather in KC. New England just finds ways to win against very good teams. In a game that could go either way, I give New England this final advantage: they are not overly reliant on any given player. The Pats have started 42 different players. Last week Tom Brady threw to 10 different receivers. Who’s the star on this team? They all are. The Colts, on the other hand, are completely reliant on the arm of Peyton Manning. Will he be able to turn in another perfect game? I don’t know. But, chances are he will have some slip-ups and if he does, New England wins.

Wunderdog’s systems and trends for this game:
+Conference Finals system #1 (23-6 ATS): Picks the Patriots
+Conference Finals system #2 (3-2 ATS): Picks the Patriots
+Matchup Power Ratings: Picks the Patriots
+Conference Finals historical trends favoring the Colts:
---4 trends with 70%-79% ATS record
+Conference Finals historical trends favoring the Patriots:
---2 trends with 60%-69% ATS record
---4 trends with 70%-79% ATS record
---2 trends with 80%-89% ATS record

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