“As a young quarterback growing up, I took the opportunity to watch the sort of benchmarks of quarterback play,” Luck said. “There were some great playoff games at both stadiums. I think Gillette had grass a while back so it got fairly muddy sometimes late in the year.”
The field has artificial turf now and the teams are heading into the latter part of the season on a roll. The Colts have won their last four games, the Patriots their last three, and both are 6-3.
“It’s a big game, obviously, a huge game,” Luck said. “In the AFC, (the) two teams that are up there, in terms of the standings right now. So it’ll definitely be exciting.”
The Colts have made a swift turnaround. They already have four more wins than they had all last season and have a legitimate shot at a playoff berth.
“I’m definitely impressed,” Patriots wide receiver Wes Welker said. “Obviously, you would figure it would be a rebuilding type deal for the Colts and it’s not that way at all. They’re playing some really good ball with a lot of young players and then they have some veterans, too, who really kind of step up for them in crunch time.”
Luck’s 2,631 yards passing are the most by a rookie through his first nine games. He set an NFL rookie record with 433 yards through the air in a 23-20 win over the Miami Dolphins two weeks ago. And one more game of more than 300 yards will be his fifth, breaking Manning’s NFL rookie mark.
There’s a decent chance of that happening Sunday.
The Patriots have allowed that many in five of their nine games. Only four teams have given up more yards passing than the Patriots, who have been especially vulnerable to the big play. They’re hoping to get help from newcomer Aqib Talib, obtained in a trade with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.