KICKOFF: Sunday, 8:15 ET
TV: NBC (Al Michaels, John Madden, Andrea Kremer)
SERIES: 69th regular-season meeting. Patriots lead, 42-26. Colts quarterback Peyton Manning is just 4-9 against the Patriots dating back to 1998, but has won two of his last three against New England, including last year's loss. The Patriots have not played at Lucas Oil Stadium yet, so Sunday will be their first visit.
KEYS TO THE GAME: The Colts are expected to get SS Bob Sanders back just in time. They are allowing 144.1 rushing yards per game, while the Patriots have been more committed to the run to help QB Matt Cassel. Cassel will have to be patient against the Colts' Cover-2 scheme while also cognizant of Indianapolis' ability to get after the passer quickly. Expect him to rely heavily on underneath routes, with TE Ben Watson and RB Kevin Faulk popular targets.
Colts WRs Reggie Wayne and Marvin Harrison have combined for just eight receptions for 76 yards the past two weeks. However, the Patriots are unlikely to play as much bump-and-run coverage as the Packers and Titans, who have stronger cover men than Patriots CBs Ellis Hobbs and Deltha O'Neal. The key for Indianapolis is getting more out of the running game, which hasn't had as much success on its stretch plays this season. And Manning has continued to be a bit off in his timing when trying to stretch the field.
KEY INJURIES: RB LaMont Jordan (calf) is out; Hobbs (shoulder) said he would play; RB Sammy Morris (knee) is not expected to play. LB Shawn Crable, CB Lewis Sanders and S Matt Slater are out. Colts: RB Joseph Addai (hamstring) is expected to return after missing two games; Sanders (ankle/knee) should play.
NEED TO KNOW: Faulk needs 15 receiving yards to become the 14th Patriot to reach 3,000 with the franchise. ... A loss would give the Colts their first three-game losing streak since 2002.
PREDICTION: Colts 21-20