Colts-Patriots is Battle of NFL's Best

Which NFL team was the winningest of the past decade? It depends on how you look at it, really. Counting regular-season games only, the Indianapolis Colts have laid claim to the title. From 2000 to 2009, Indianapolis posted a mark of 115-45.

But if post-season results are thrown into the mix, the New England Patriots have a 126-52 won-loss record and three Super Bowl titles, with the Colts close behind at 124-53 and one Super Bowl win.

Counting this year, New England has amassed a 133-54 record as compared to Indianapolis' 130-56 (including the playoffs).

Interestingly, league spokesman Corry Rush said recently that the league counts only wins accumulated during the regular season.

Statistics are nice, but they really don't count for much as the two powerhouse AFC franchises prepare to face off Sunday at Gillette Stadium.

"They definitely have an argument if you count the playoffs. But then you have to count all stats in the playoffs. Who knows (which won-loss mark means more)? They have a tremendous record in the playoffs," defensive end Dwight Freeney said recently.

"I think they have an argument. But, to me, who really cares? When you retire and you look back on it, you can say 'Wow, we had a great 10 years.' And that's just what it is."

The Patriots come into this week's matchup tied with the New York Jets for first place in the AFC East with a 7-2 mark. The Colts, meanwhile, are 6-3 and sit atop the AFC South.

While their 2010 records are similar, the way they've gotten to this point has been decidedly different.

New England ran off a five-game winning streak over the last month and has won six of its last seven games.

Indianapolis, on the other hand, has won four of its last five games. But the Colts have had a bumpier road thanks to a boatload of injuries to key players.

"We're going against Tom Brady, one of the elite quarterbacks in the league. It's going to be a challenge," cornerback Kelvin Hayden previewed.

"They're one of the best teams (in the league) right now. It's too early. The best team wins the Super Bowl. But we're playing a hot team offensively and defensively. They've been playing well. We'll have our hands full."

SERIES HISTORY: 71st regular-season meeting. Patriots lead series, 42-28. New England also leads in the post-season series, 2-1. Indianapolis, though, has won four of the last five regular-season meetings, including last year's 35-34 come-from-behind victory at Lucas Oil Stadium. The Colts have posted wins in their last two regular-season visits to Gillette Stadium (40-21, 11/7/05; 27-20, 11/5/06). New England leads in the regular-season series since 1998, winning nine of the previous 15 matchups. The Colts have never won a post-season game at New England, losing 24-14 (1/18/04) in the 2003 AFC Championship Game and 20-3 (1/16/05) in a 2004 AFC Divisional Playoff Game. Indianapolis' only post-season victory over the Patriots occurred on January 21, 2007 as the Colts rallied with 32 second-half points en route to a 38-34 victory in the 2006 AFC Championship Game.

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