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News for nerds

The Patriots have a reputation for taking away what an opponent’s offense does best.

So when New England plays Indianapolis on Saturday night this week, its defense will have a pretty clear target: running back Jonathan Taylor.

There’s a clear pattern to Colts games this year. When Taylor has 100 yards rushing, the Colts have won. When he finishes below that number, they’ve lost.

But that pattern could mean there’s more on quarterback Carson Wentz’s shoulders if Indianapolis is to win. But Wentz said on Tuesday that the Colts will still have to keep Taylor involved no matter how New England’s defense tries to take him out.

“For sure. I would say a lot of teams have done that as of late,” Wentz said in his press conference. “So, for us, JT’s still as good as it gets at that position in the league and we trust our big boys up front, no matter the looks, to get it done. For us, it’s going to still be the same thing. We’re going to try and run the ball and I’m confident that we’re going to be able to. We’re going to still do our thing. Then, like we always say within a game, make adjustments as needed.”

Taylor has rushed for 172, 116, 185, and 143 yards in four of the Colts’ last five games. The one exception was Indianapolis’ 38-31 loss to Tampa Bay, in which he had 83 yards on 16 carries.

Taylor currently leads the league with 1,348 yards on the ground and 16 rushing touchdowns.

Coming off their bye, the Patriots enter this week with the league’s No. 19 run defense, allowing 4.4 yards per attempt. If they can’t contain Taylor, it’ll be tough for New England to come away with a victory.