Spike-tacular

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Spike-tacular

INDIANAPOLIS COLTS (0-11) at NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (8-3)Gillette Stadium

The facts and figures for today's game:

KICKOFF: 1 p.m.

WEATHER: Partly cloudy, temperature in the low 50s. Winds out of the south southwest between 4-8 mph. Click here for NECN's complete weather forecast.

NETWORK TELEVISION COVERAGE: CBS

TV ANNOUNCERS: Marv Albert and Rich Gannon.

RADIO COVERAGE: 98.5 The Sports Hub, the flagship for the 37-station Patriots Radio Network.

RADIO ANNOUNCERS: Gil Santos, Gino Cappelletti and Scott Zolak.

COMCAST SPORTSNET COVERAGE

CSNNE.com STAFF: Tom E. Curran, Mary Paoletti, Art Martone and Danny Picard.

CSN TELEVISION: Mike Giardi and Kevin Walsh.

SPORTS SUNDAY (7:30 P.M.): Michael Felger, Troy Brown and Ty Law in Burlington; Tom E. Curran, Mike Giardi and Ron Borges in Foxboro.

DAYS OF BUCKNER: The Colts are 0-11 for the first time since 1986, when they started 0-13 before winning the final three games of that season.

SMOOTH ROAD AHEAD: The Patriots overcame an early 10-0 deficit to defeat the Eagles, 38-20 last week, moving to 8-3 on the season. New England has the easiest remaining strength of schedule in the NFL (18-37, .327).

HOW MUCH YOU WANT TO BET THIS STREAK ENDS TODAY? Including the playoffs, each of the last six games between these clubs has been decided by seven points or less, with the Colts winning four of these six contests.

DAYS OF CHANGE: The Colts fired their defensive coordinator Larry Coyer and benched starting quarterback Curtis Painter on Tuesday. Coyer will be replaced by linebackers coach Mike Murphy, while Dan Orlovsky becomes Indianapolis' third starting QB this season. Like Painter, Orlovsky is 0-7 as a NFL starter -- his only career starts coming with the 2008 Detroit Lions, who finished that season 0-16.
ACCURATE AGAIN: Tom Brady had not thrown an interception in his last 166 pass attempts in the month of December. That is the longest active streak in the NFL.

EIGHT IS GREAT: Wes Welker has eight touchdown catches this season, tying his career high, which was set back in the 2007 season. Welker had two touchdown catches in last week's win over the Eagles, his third multi-TD game on the season.

Just Belichick being Belichick at Friday presser

Just Belichick being Belichick at Friday presser

On Wednesday, the Patriots media room was festooned with AFC Championship Game adornments. A big red backdrop behind the podium, Patriots and Steelers helmets arranged on a table facing each other with the Lamar Hunt AFC Champion Trophy in the middle. 

Bill Belichick, who's not big on festoons, noted the helmets during his press conference and deadpanned, "So exciting...". That clip got some run. 

On Friday, when asked to recall his first Conference Championship as a coach, he mentioned the 2001 AFC Championship Game in Pittsburgh and the fact that Belichick, Lawyer Milloy and Tom Brady were all required to fly to Pittsburgh on the Friday before the game to do media duties. 

"That was awesome," Belichick snarked. Then, looking to the area where the display was on Wednesday, Belichick smiled and said, "Where's all the stuff from Wednesday? Did it get thrown out?"

He is the turd in the NFL's punch bowl and it's endlessly amusing. 

Belichick not focused on Trump shout-out before inauguration: 'We've got a big game'

Belichick not focused on Trump shout-out before inauguration: 'We've got a big game'

FOXBORO -- During a dinner for donors at Union Station in Washington, D.C. on Thursday night, Donald Trump name-dropped Bill Belichick on two separate occasions. It marked what might've been the first time a president-elect publicly shouted out an NFL coach on the eve of his inauguration in the office's history.

Trump and Belichick have a long-standing friendship, Belichick explained back in November. Still, on Friday morning, the Patriots commander-in-chief had little reaction to his name being mentioned by Trump the night before. 

"We've got a big game," Belichick said matter-of-factly. 

There was little chance Belichick would utter anything else. He's still in preparation mode, still trying to out-work the Steelers in order to have his team at its best Sunday night. 

It's that approach that urged Trump to mention Belichick in the first place.

"I out-worked everybody" during the election, Trump said. "I think I out-worked anyone who ever ran for office. I learned that from Belichick."

Trump also mentioned the four-time Super Bowl-winning head coach while in the process of pointing out Patriots chairman and CEO Robert Kraft during the dinner. 

"In the audience we have somebody that's under no pressure whatsoever because he's got a great quarterback named Tom Brady and a great coach named Belichick: Bob Kraft," Trump said. "Good luck, Bob."