Indianapolis Star columnist Bob Kravitz checked in with the Dennis & Callahan show Thursday morning to preview Sunday's game between the Patriots and Colts. Kravitz said Colts fans are resigned to the fact that their injury-depleted team, despite being 6-3 and leading the AFC South, faces a difficult challenge in Foxboro.
"I think there's a feeling, especially around here, that this team is just trying to hold on for dear life until guys come back and are healthy," Kravitz said. "I think people around here are sort of ready to take their lumps against New England and just hope they can hang on long enough to get some guys back and make a run at the playoffs."
Kravitz said it wouldn't be fair to assign blame to Peyton Manning for any offensive struggles, as the veteran quarterback can't do it all by himself. "I think he's been as good as he's ever been for the most part," Kravitz said. "He just doesn't have anything around him. This offensive line is just not good. They made some changes in the offseason, and none of the people they brought in even made it out of training camp. [Joseph] Addai's been hurt. You figure it out, you lost [Austin] Collie, you lost [Anthony] Gonzalez, you lost Dallas Clark. Pierre Garcon may as well be hurt, because he's been useless. So, he just doesn't have any weapons at this point.
"When he did have a full complement of weapons early in the season, he was very, very good. The last couple of games he's been ordinary. And I think we're finding out as good as he is, when you take away all his toys, he's just not a great quarterback."
Kravitz said it won't be a surprise to see the Patriots employ the strategy of controlling the ball to keep Manning off the field. Said Kravitz: "The story with the Colts is the story since the beginning of time, it seems: If you can run the ball on them, you win. The three teams that have beaten them — Jacksonville, Houston and Philly — all ran the ball very effectively, kept Peyton on the sideline and won their games. So, I think the formula is the same as it's always been."