Kravitz: Want my prediction for the Colts - Patriots game? No. No, you don’t.

Bob Kravitz
I want to tell you the Colts are going to win Sunday. Really, I do.

For a couple of reasons:
  • I want to get the heck out of this cold and spend some time in Arizona this winter. As you know, in my strange little world, it's all about ME. Me, me, me. Given the choice of watching Angela Buchman predicting another polar vortex and listening to forecasts in the 80's, I'll take the latter – and I'm a big Angela fan (and not just because I work at WTHR). Did I mention it's all about ME?
  • Patriots fans and the media back East are so painfully arrogant. Did you read the latest from my friend Dan Shaughnessy, who rolls out this column virtually every year? Read it here. Now, it should be mentioned that when he reprises that column, he's usually right (gag), but I think he's representative of the average New England fan who looks at the Colts as nothing more than a historical speed bump. It's like they feel like the Super Bowl is their divine right. The Patriots are the Evil Empire, the football version of the Yankees or Kentucky basketball. They've been so good for so long, I'm just sick and tired of them. Do we really want to spend another Super Bowl week listening to Bill Belichick mumble non-answers? No, we do not.

  • I like this Colts team. I like the head coach, Chuck Pagano, who must have dreamed about a moment like this when he was fighting back from leukemia. I like Andrew Luck's Amish neckbeard (and who doesn't?). I like Pat McAfee, who would dominate Media Day in Glendale. I like talking to the more interesting Colts guys like Mike Adams, D'Qwell Jackson, Cory Redding, Dwayne Allen, Darrius Butler. This Colts team has so many nice, fresh stories for the national media to embrace. And they're not afraid to speak up and be themselves, in stark contrast to the Patriots, whose players have been reduced to message-spewing automatons, puppets whose strings are pulled by the Master Marionette, Bill Belichick. Even in their worst moment, the news of Josh McNary's rape charge, the Colts did the right thing and did it quickly, putting him on the commissioner's exempt list — which basically means he's on paid leave until his case is adjudicated.

  • Did I mention I'm getting tired of the cold weather?
Now, before I share my prediction, which means absolutely nothing (except to players, who seem to care about these things), let me say this: This has been fun. The best post-season runs are the ones that come out of nowhere, the ones that are impossible to predict. It's like 1995. It's like 2006. It's like Butler mowing down the competition and reaching the NCAA national final two years in a row.

I wrote this a week ago and will write it again: The Colts are playing with house money. Sure, they want to reach the Super Bowl and believe they should be heading to Glendale, Ariz., but I get the sense the locals are simply overjoyed their team is in this position to upset the Patriots. This has been a fun, wild ride, one that came out of nowhere. Who could have imagined the running game would come alive in the post-season? Or that the offensive line would become impenetrable when the stakes heightened? Or that Andrew Luck would come of age so soon? Who thought the team that didn't have any signature wins all season could go into Denver and dominate the Broncos? And please, don't tell me that Peyton Manning was hobbled; if he was out there, he was healthy enough to play. End of story.


However Sunday's game plays out, do yourselves a favor: Maintain your perspective. While the Patriots are deep into their evolution as a team, having made the Super Bowl more times than we care to remember, the Colts are just three years into this rebuilding. (And spare me the “reloading'' BS; this team was almost completely rebuilt after Ryan Grigson and Pagano came along. There are only five players left from the team that pair adopted three years ago). Keep in mind, whatever happens, there will be a Super Bowl, or Super Bowls plural, in Luck's and the Colts' future.

“We have to continue to make sure we feel the weight of responsibility to surround him (Luck) and get him as a team to the top,'' Colts Owner Jim Irsay said recently. “That's the thing, and I told Chuck and Ryan, you feel that weight of responsibility.''

Unlike Shaughnessy, I don't see this as another in a long line of Colts-Patriots blowouts. Since Luck arrived, the Patriots have beaten the Colts by an average of 26 points. This won't be one of those kinds of games. The Colts have come too far to go splat in the biggest game of the year.

And this is a better Indy team than the one who got pushed around by the Pats earlier this year, got “demoralized,'' in safety Mike Adams' words. Now they have Art Jones, the gigantic run stopper. Now they have LaRon Landry, who played sparingly in the previous meeting, playing some of his most inspired football since he arrived in Indianapolis. Now they have Jonathan Newsome, who appears to have displaced Bjoern Werner at one of the outside linebacker spots.

They've also made strides offensively, where the tight ends have become bigger weapons, where Daniel “Boom'' Herron has become an effective all-purpose back (as long as he's not fumbling).

Looking for a statistic to give you hope? Here's one: Since Luck arrived, the Colts are 12-0 (3-0 in the playoffs) against teams in same-season rematch games. Meanwhile, the last eight Patriots playoff losses have all come in same-season rematch games. The Pats have also lost their last two AFC title games, at home to Baltimore and on the road in Denver.


“You picking against us?'' Adams wondered.

Heck, yeah I am.

Adams smiled. “Good,'' he said.

By now, you know I'm not a homer. I'm wrong a lot — wrong on the Denver game, just as a start — but I'm honest, and I look lousy in a cheerleader's outfit. I like the Patriots in this game, 29-24. I don't see them running over the Colts this time, not after the way New England bullied them the last two times they played, but I see Brady doing what Brady does, and I see Rob Gronkowski having a game, whether he's covered by Landry or if the Colts play quarters coverage — or whatever.

Do I want them to win? Absolutely. Because I'm not ready for the local football season to end. Because having your local team in the Super Bowl is extraordinarily cool, even if it's a bunch of work for clowns like me. Because I want to see the Colts blow up the WTHR travel budget (just kidding, sort of). But mostly because it would be great for the city and for an organization I've come to respect.

Mostly, though, I could really use a tan.