Conference Championship Mismatches
Colts at Patriots
HC Bill Belichick vs. QB Peyton Manning
Co-MVP Manning may be playing the best football of his career, but it isn't like the Broncos and Chiefs put up much resistance the last two weeks. Both teams ran very basic schemes and were incapable of hiding their defensive play call, allowing Manning to know exactly where he was going with the ball before he even snapped the ball. The Patriots will not be so easy meat. Bill Belichick has always been the one person who could get inside Manning's head, especially away from Indianapolis. Manning has thrown four touchdowns to nine interceptions in the four away games against a Belichick coached defense. The Patriots will purposefully tip their hand as to potential blitzers in order to goad Manning into calling an audible, only to shift just before the snap to put the Colts in a bad play call. Belichick will also throw unusual personnel combinations onto the field to confuse Manning, such as only rushing two and putting nine back in coverage only to follow that up with an eight-man rush the next play. Throw in freezing temperatures and a 40% chance of snow flurries, and it will be that much harder for Manning to continue his hot streak.