INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (WLFI) - When divisional realignment occurred following the 2001 regular season, the seasonal matchup between the Colts and Patriots looked to become extinct.
However, thanks to the teams' dominance over the past decade, Sunday's contest is the 13th overall meeting between the franchises since 2003.
In addition to the regular rotation pattern of league scheduling, the Colts and Patriots met for many years because they finished in the same divisional position as each other.
Sunday's game in Foxborough has been moved to a 4:25 p.m. time slot to showcase two of the AFC's best teams. Indianapolis and New England stand at 6-3. They are two of six conference teams with six-or-more victories.
The Patriots are riding a three-game winning streak into the matchup with the Colts, and their three losses have been by a total of just four points (20-18 versus Arizona, 31-30 at Baltimore and 24-23 at Seattle).
New England quarterback Tom Brady once again leads the league's top offense and has 18 touchdown passes to just three interceptions on the season.
Brady is not afraid to spread the ball around to multiple targets. Wide receiver Wes Welker leads the way with 66 receptions for 810 yards. He is one of 13 Patriots to catch passes from Brady.
Tight end Rob Gronkowski has been the go-to guy in the red zone with eight touchdown receptions in nine games.
The Patriots also have been committed to an extremely productive run game this season. New England has three different backs with at least 43 attempts on the season, with Stevan Ridley topping the group with 814 yards and six touchdowns on 172 attempts. The rushing attack ranks fifth in the NFL with an average of 146.0 yards per game.
New England's 430.3 yards per game average is almost 25 yards more than its nearest competitor, and its 33.2 scoring average is three points more than any other team.
Defensively, the Patriots have been effective against the run (ninth in the league), and the pass defense ranks 29th in yards allowed.
One area the Patriots continue to be among the league's best is turnover ratio. New England's 23 takeaways are five more than any other AFC team, and the Patriots' seven giveaways are the fewest in the NFL.
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