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Mailbag: Colts' D-Line vs. Pats' O-Line is the key matchup

Welcome to this week's Indianapolis Colts mailbag:

Mike Wells: Colts' defensive line vs. Patriots' offensive line. No pressure means no chance for the Colts. Remember Week 1 against Peyton Manning and Denver, and Week 8 against Ben Roethlisberger and Pittsburgh? Manning picked the Colts apart, and Roethlisberger threw for 522 yards, six touchdowns and was only hit one time in 49 pass attempts. Tom Brady will do the same thing to the Colts if they don't find a way to put pressure on him.

Wells: Here is how I think it'll go: 1. Denver 2. New England 3. Colts 4. Pittsburgh 5. Cincinnati 6. Baltimore.

Wells: Hugh Thornton will be back in the starting lineup at guard after being benched for the Nov. 3 game against the New York Giants because he missed some team meetings. The Colts hope Thornton learned from the benching and won't let it happen again.

Wells: Get a good look at LaRon Landry the rest of this season, because I'd be shocked if the Colts bring him back next season. You are getting an indication of where he stands with the franchise. He has had three weeks of practice since returning from his suspension and he is still not back in the starting lineup. He is limited to special teams and some select defensive packages. That is a sudden fall for a player the Colts had high hopes for when they signed him to a four-year contract in 2013.

Wells: The Patriots are tied for 14th in the league in sacks with 22. Pittsburgh's constant pressure against the Colts forced tight end Dwayne Allen to stay in and block, which took him out of the passing game. The Colts can't afford for that to happen again, because Allen is too important in their passing game. I've labeled Allen as the 'X' factor in the game. I think he will have a major role in the passing game as long as the offensive line does its job of blocking so Allen can get down field and beat some of New England's linebackers.

Wells: I'm going with the Patriots, because even though the game against the Cowboys will be played in Dallas, nobody knows how Dallas quarterback Tony Romo's health will be at that point. Sunday is more important at this point for the Colts, because the game has playoff implications. Win and the Colts control their own destiny for the No. 2 seed, which means a first-round bye and home game in the second weekend of the playoffs. Lose and the Colts will likely end up with the No. 3 seed, which means a home wild-card game and then on the road against probably Denver or New England. That is why the Colts need to take care of business and win Sunday. I have the Colts running the table after Sunday's game against the Patriots. So yes, I picked New England to win.

Wells: I would say it's unlikely, especially in a game of this magnitude. The Colts have said they need to find a way to get receiver Donte Moncrief some more snaps, and that will likely happen. He just won't get more than Hakeem Nicks this weekend. Sunday will be the second time Nicks has faced the Patriots in his career. The first time? In the Super Bowl. Nicks had 10 catches for 109 yards in the Giants' Super Bowl victory against the Patriots in February 2012.

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