PFF Preview: Colts @ Patriots, AFC Championship
The Indianapolis Colts had nothing for the New England Patriots during their Week 11 contest in Indianapolis. This week, the Colts will get another crack at the Patriots with a trip to the Super Bowl on the line. Indianapolis is coming off a convincing victory over the Denver Broncos, while New England needed to come from behind to beat the Baltimore Ravens in the divisional round of the playoffs.
T.Y. Hilton has been a key contributor for the Colts’ offense all season, but when the Colts met the Patriots earlier this year he was held to just 24 yards. Hilton was a major deep threat this season with 25.2% of his targets coming on passes at least 20 yards downfield, catching 45% of them for five touchdowns. However, against the Patriots, he was targeted just once over 20 yards downfield on a pass he didn’t bring in. During the season Hilton ran 40% of his routes from the slot, but against the Patriots that number was 54% — the increase didn’t seem to help his production, so it will be interesting to keep an eye on where he lines up.
If the Colts decide to line Hilton up on the outside more this time around, it is likely he will be lined up across either Brandon Browner or Darrelle Revis. During the regular season, Revis has allowed a reception on one of every 14.8 snaps he has been in coverage, which is the third-best among cornerbacks. In the game against the Colts, Luck threw Revis’ direction six times, completing two the passes for only 4 yards. On the other hand, Luck found much success throwing in Browner’s direction completing seven of nine passes for 129 yards. If Hilton spends the majority of his time in the slot again, it may be Kyle Arrington lined up across from him. In their first meeting, Arrington held Hilton to once catch on four targets for 13 yards.
New England Patriots
Jamie Collins – Collins earned his best rating of the season against the Colts in Week 11 (+6.0) while racking up six stops, six tackles, and one quarterback hurry.
Devin McCourty – Last week against the Ravens, McCourty defended a pass, grabbed an interception, and allowed only one catch on the four times a receiver in his zone was targeted.
Chandler Jones – Since returning to the lineup in Week 15 Jones has accumulated 19 quarterback pressures in the four games.
Shane Vereen – In the divisional playoff game against the Ravens, Vereen was on the field for 41 snaps. It’s interesting in that 39 of those plays were passing plays.
Tom Brady – Brady has been most productive this season on intermediate passes (10-19 yards downfield) to the middle of the field. He has accumulated a +16.5 grade and an NFL QB Rating of 121.3.
Coby Fleener – Fleener had his breakout game against the Patriots in Week 11 when he caught all seven of his targets for 144 yards. 118 of those yards came against Browner on five receptions.
Dan Herron – Herron has been heavily involved in the Colts’ passing game during the playoffs, catching 18 passes on 19 targets for 116 yards.
Darius Butler – Butler notched his best rating of the season against the pass last week (+3.1) while covering each of Denver’s top receivers at some point.
Andrew Luck – Luck led the league in passing yards on throws over 20 yards downfield with 1,387.
Vontae Davis – When quarterbacks throw into Davis’ coverage they have a QB Rating of 38.8, a league best for cornerbacks this year.
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