***** Five-star games
NEW ENGLAND AT INDIANAPOLIS
3:15 p.m., Ch. 4; 714, DTV Line: N.E. by 5½
Last meeting: Colts 38, Patriots 34, AFC championship, Jan. 21, 2007 at Indianapolis.
Patriots' NFL rankings: Offense 1st, defense 3rd
Colts' NFL rankings: Offense 3rd, defense 4th
PATRIOTS PEAKING: New England is 8-0 for the first time in franchise history and has beaten all its opponents by at least 17 points. The Patriots lead the NFL in total offense (439.5) and passing offense (303.8). WR Randy Moss leads the NFL with 779 yards receiving (47 catches) and 11 TDs, and WR Wes Welker leads the Patriots with 56 receptions. Defensively, New England has allowed 268.5 yards per game. CB Asante Samuel has four interceptions, and LB Mike Vrabel ranks second in the AFC with 7½ sacks.
DEFENSIVE GENIUSES' GENESIS: Indianapolis coach Tony Dungy is credited with inventing the "Tampa-2" defense, although he credits former Steelers coach Chuck Noll with being its mastermind. Patriots coach Bill Belichick has been a "defensive genius" since he was coordinator for the Giants teams under Bill Parcells. There will be a dramatic differences in defenses today, with the Patriots using a 3-4.
COLTS CRUISING: Indianapolis is unbeaten after seven games for a third consecutive year and became the first team since the 1929-31 Green Bay Packers to win its first seven games three consecutive seasons. The Colts have won a franchise-record 12 consecutive home games. They allow a league-low 165.4 yards passing per game. QB Peyton Manning threw his Colts-record 288th career touchdown pass last week, breaking the team mark held by Johnny Unitas. The Colts lead the league in TDs rushing (12). Indianapolis has allowed fewer points per game than New England (14.6 to 15.9).
STAR OF THE GAME: The Patriots quarterback Tom Brady is on pace, halfway through the season, for the best passing season in NFL history. His numbers, and the NFL records:
Completion percentage: .742 (198-for-267).
Record: .706, Ken Anderson, Cincinnati, 1982
Passing yards: 2,431. Record: 5,084, Dan Marino, Miami, 1984
Touchdown passes: 30 Record: Peyton Manning, Indianapolis, 49, 2004
Interception percentage: .748 (two in 267 attempts). Record: Damon Huard, Kansas City, .409 (one in 244) attempts, 2006
Passer rating: 136.2. Record: 121.1, Manning, 2004
**** four-star game
GREEN BAY AT KANSAS CITY