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Colts 10, Patriots 6

How it happened: Patriots hit new lows in 10-6 loss to Colts in Germany

Rhamondre Stevenson led the Patriots with 88 yards rushing.Michael Probst/Associated Press

The Patriots’ futility fell to a new level on Sunday in their 10-6 loss to the Indianapolis Colts in Frankfurt, Germany.

Surrounded by plenty of fanfare at Deutsche Bank Park, New England couldn’t capitalize on the good vibes. Quarterback Mac Jones was sacked five times and threw a brutal interception with under five minutes to play in the fourth quarter, which just about sealed up New England’s third straight loss.

Jones finished 15-for-20 with 170 yards passing.

Bailey Zappe came on in relief of Jones for the Patriots’ final drive. He converted one first down before throwing an interception after a fake spike to end the game.

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New England was led offensively by Rhamondre Stevenson (87 yards on 19 attempts) and Demario Douglas (6 catches for 84 yards).

Jonathan Taylor had 69 yards on 23 rushes; the Colts’ leading receiver was Michael Pittman Jr. (84 yards on eight receptions).

Next up for the 2-8 Patriots is a much-needed bye week.


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Mac Jones on INT: ‘It was a terrible throw’ — 1:20 p.m.

Steve Luciano/Associated Press

By Amin Touri

Mac Jones’s time with the Patriots may have hit a new low in Sunday’s loss to the Colts, with New England on the verge of taking the lead in the fourth quarter before Jones threw one of his worst interceptions since taking over in 2021.

“It was a terrible throw,” Jones said. “Practiced it, hit it in practice, just not a good throw. I knew where to go, just didn’t do it right.”

Jones was pulled for the game’s final drive, with Bailey Zappe taking the final snaps of the game before throwing a pick of his own.

“They just told me I was out of the game,” Jones said. “I wasn’t playing very good, so I got taken out of the game before the two-minute drive at the end of the game. That’s kind of what it was.

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“I think it’s hard, right. It’s a difficult situation, but at the end of the day I really did want the team to win, I’ll always be that person, I know that we didn’t win so that’s hard for everybody. But I have to play better to not even be in that situation, it’s not ideal for anybody, right, nobody is going to do good in that situation.”

His benching came at the end of a frustrating day for Jones, who could be seen being seemingly yelled at by offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien in an animated bench discussion. Jones didn’t give too many details on the exchange.

“Yeah, just try to go through my reads and hit the open guy,” Jones said. “I’ve got to do a better job of that, and it’s really hard out there in the NFL, really good defense, but there were a lot of open guys I could’ve hit.”

Jones and O’Brien didn’t seem to be on the same page for the playcall that ended the first half, a wide receiver screen to Demario Douglas with two seconds left and a long. way to go.

“No clue,” Jones said of the logic behind the call. “There was two seconds left, and we needed 60 yards, so, I don’t know.”

Jones was also asked whether he believes the coaching staff still has faith in him after another benching.

“I mean, at the end of the day, I’ve got to play better,” Jones said. “To make people believe you’ve got to be better, so I’m not sure, I don’t know.”

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Does he still believe in himself?

“Yeah I do. I put a lot of work into it, I got a lot of faith in myself, but there’s just things I’ve got to get fixed and learn, keep learning and figure it out.

“Like I said, didn’t play very well. I’ve played well in my career, but just not right now. it’s peaks and valleys, I’m kind of in a valley right now, just got to bounce back.”

Belichick after loss: ‘I think we’re all disappointed in the season’ — 1:05 p.m.

By Amin Touri

As Bill Belichick’s seat continues to heat up, the struggling Patriots coach kept his postgame remarks typically brief following Sunday’s loss to the Colts.

“Obviously a disappointing game,” Belichick said. “Similar theme that we’ve had to other games this year, too many missed opportunities in all three phases of the game. Just got to play better situational football and take advantage of the opportunities we get, just didn’t do a good enough job today.”

That was Belichick’s longest answer of the afternoon. Asked about the future of quarterback Mac Jones, Belichick said the Patriots would “worry about next week next week. Game just finished like a half hour ago.”

Does he still have faith in Jones?

“I have faith in all our players,” Belichick said.

Belichick was asked about Robert Kraft’s pregame comments on his disappointment with how the season has gone thus far, and whether Kraft had expressed those sentiments to the coach. Belichick was tight-lipped as usual.

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“I think we all feel that way,” he said. “I think we’re all disappointed in the season.”

One of the game’s strangest plays came when the Patriots went for an all-out approach on a punt block with no returner back, leading to a punt netting nearly 70 yards and pinning New England deep when it had a chance at strong field position, which wasn’t exactly how the Patriots drew it up.

“Not exactly, but, he hit a good ball,” Belichick said. “There were a couple options on the play, but the punter ended up hitting a good ball.”

Belichick was also asked about how much the talk about his job security bothers him, drawing one of his shortest answers of the day.

“Yeah, I just do the best I can every day.”

The only real positive Belichick was willing to highlight was the atmosphere on an unusual day in Germany.

“Yeah it was good, good energy in the stadium,” Belichick said. “They were into it. Good day.”

Hunter Henry can’t hide his disappointment: ‘Just tough, man’ — 12:55 p.m.

By Amin Touri

Tight end Hunter Henry was visibly deflated at the podium postgame after another disappointing loss for the Patriots.

“Just tough, man,” Henry said. “Just not good enough in any aspect. We’re going into a bye here, and we’ve got a lot to improve on, we’ve got to get a lot better. Just not good enough in any aspect.”

Henry was asked if he still had faith in quarterback Mac Jones after the third-year signal-caller was benched for the game’s final possession following a brutal red zone interception. Jones, Henry said, was rallying his teammates for the final drive, in which Jones wouldn’t take part.

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“Yeah,” Henry said of his faith in Jones. “We put a lot of work in, so, still have faith.

“He’s a leader. Just encouraging, and we had a chance to go win it, weren’t able to do it. [He was] just encouraging us to go out there and finish the game, but obviously we weren’t able to do it.”

Mac Jones to X-ray room — 12:48 p.m.

David Andrews speaks up for Bill Belichick — 12:45 p.m.

By Amin Touri

After a rough loss in Germany dropped the Patriots to 2-8, New England center and captain David Andrews gave his embattled coach a vote of confidence.

“I probably wouldn’t be sitting here if it wasn’t for him,” Andrews said of Bill Belichick. “Not many people wanted me when I came out [of college] except for Bill, he was the only coach that came and worked me out. I have a lot of confidence in him, I’ve had a lot of success, I believe in what he says, what he does, because I know it’s helped me out in my career and turned me into a better football player. Never thought a kid from Georgia would be sitting in Germany playing in an NFL game. Coach gave me an opportunity when that’s all I wanted.”

Andrews gave a familiar answer on the Patriots’ offensive struggles after they only put up 6 points against the Colts in Frankfurt.

“Just got to finish,” Andrews said. “Everybody’s got to do a better job, we’ve all got to do a better job. Look, it’s been the same thing ... we had opportunities, we just have to do a better job finishing, few opportunities down there in the red zone and at the end. It’s never one play, it’s never one situation, there’s 60-something plays or whatever it was in the game, and it’s a culmination, it’s never just one play. There’s things you can do better on every one.”

Andrews called Sunday’s game abroad a “great atmosphere” and a “cool experience” but the disappointment brings the Patriots to new lows with a third straight loss.

“I think you handle it just like you handle it when you’re having success,” Andrews said. “I think if you’re having success and you get lackadaisical and you lose focus, that’s a recipe for disaster. I think when you’re not having success, as a leader, you can’t switch up or change, you can’t be good if its good or bad if its bad, you have to be constant every day.”

Instant analysis: What comes next? — 12:40 p.m.

Mac Jones struggled against the Colts.Alex Grimm/Getty

By Christopher Price

So what happens now?

With rumors swirling about coach Bill Belichick’s future with the Patriots, the team did little to put anyone’s mind at ease regarding what’s next for the coach, as well as the rest of the franchise. For New England, it was a game that was marked by red-zone miscues from quarterback Mac Jones, the decision to pull Jones in favor of Bailey Zappe (who fired a late interception of his own), and the sort of continued offensive inconsistency we’ve seen from this team all season long.

As a result, the Patriots (2-8) head into the bye week with more questions than answers: Will Belichick be on the sidelines when the Patriots face the Giants in two weeks after the bye? Is there any chance Jones keeps his starting job? And is there anything the Patriots can do to pull out of a nosedive that currently has them looking up at everyone else in the AFC?

Read more Instant Analysis from Christopher Price here.

Patriots drop to 2-8 for second time since Kraft bought the team — 12:30 p.m.

Julian Edelman weighs in 😬 — 12:25 p.m.

Watch Zappe’s interception — 12:20 p.m.

It’s over — 12:17 p.m.

Those of you who had “Bailey Zappe throwing a game-ending interception on a fake spike in Germany” on your bingo card can collect your prizes at the counter. Zappe’s brief cameo showed some promise with a couple first downs to reach midfield, but he tried to do a little too much and threw a game-sealing pick to drop the Patriots to 2-8. Brutal end to a fairly brutal loss for the Patriots. — Touri

Zappe Hour is here — 12:11 p.m.

Mac Jones is on the bench for the Patriots’ final drive of the game with 1:52 to play. Bailey Zappe is on the field. — McInerney

A Jones interception ends a promising drive — 12:03 p.m.

After two drives leaning heavily on the run, New England finally got the passing game going with Mac Jones relying mostly on his young targets. Kayshon Boutte picked up 11 yards on the first play of the drive (plus 15 yards for unnecessary roughness against the Colts) and Demario Douglas caught a pair of passes for gains of 9 and 21 yards to get the Patriots to the edge of the red zone.

Then Jones threw one of his worst interceptions of the season, a back-breaking pick that might sink New England in Germany. Jones was fortunate to get away with one in the end zone on the last drive, but he wasn’t so lucky this time as Julian Blackmon held onto a pass floated right into his hands well short of Jones’s intended target. — Touri

That might have been the worst pass of Mac’s career. — Finn

Indy adds another FG — 11:52 a.m.

With the Colts set up with excellent field position after a strong kick return, the Patriots did well to hold Indianapolis to a field goal. They had a chance to keep the Colts off the board entirely on third and 3 from just outside of field-goal range, but the pocket held up around Gardner Minshew who moved this way and that before finding Michael Pittman for a crucial conversion. New England will likely need a touchdown to have a shot in this game. — Touri

Stevenson questionable to return - 11:45 a.m.

Stevenson is officially questionable to return with a back injury. — Yang

Patriots pick up an FG — 11:38 a.m.

That drive was again all about the run game, with Rhamondre Stevenson and Ezekiel Elliott combining for 52 yards on nine carries — plus a 15-yard gain from Elliott on a screen — to get New England deep into the red zone. Mac Jones got away with another terrible potential interception after he floated one into the hands of Colts safety Julian Blackmon, and this time Chad Ryland is good from 24 yards to cut the deficit to 7-6. — Touri

Wonder if the Patriots would have gone for the touchdown had Stevenson not been dinged up on the drive. — Finn

Colts 7, Patriots 3: Third quarter takeaways — 11:30 a.m.

By Christopher Price

Three quarters are done, and the Patriots trail 7-3. A few quick notes:

• Jahlani Tavai had the biggest defensive play of the game for New England on Indy’s first series from scrimmage in the second half, tipping a ball from Gardner Minshew and giving Myles Bryant a chance for the pick. The Patriots took over at midfield.

• One of the ways New England was able to keep the Indy pass rush at bay — at least throughout the early stages of the second half — was through an effective run game. Following the Bryant interception, the Patriots ran the ball six consecutive times. (Of course, DeForrest Buckner being on the sidelines also played a role.) New England couldn’t cash in, as Chad Ryland missed a 35-yard field goal attempt with 8:38 left in the third quarter to leave it at 7-3.

• To be honest, the Patriots were lucky they didn’t end up falling behind 14-3. On third down just prior to the field goal attempt, Mac flipped the ball into the flat to Stevenson, but it was way off the mark. It was a foolish decision by a quarterback who should have known better. He heard it when he came to the sideline.

• Pretty nine-yard pass play to JuJu Smith-Schuster later in the quarter — a good grab for the veteran. It was one of the highlights of an impressive New England drive at the end of the quarter, a drive that saw Stevenson pick up big yards, and Mac rumbling for 15 yards of his own.

• Questionable call on Tavai midway through the third quarter on a hit on Isiah McKenzie.

Patriots miss a FG to end first possession in brutal fashion — 11:17 a.m.

After Myles Bryant’s interception set up the Patriots with great field position, Bill O’Brien decided to lean on the Patriots’ strong start in the run game instead of the struggling passing game. New England kept the ball on the ground for the first six plays of the drive before Mac Jones was again swarmed on third and 2. The Colts only rushed four but it was enough to get home in a hurry, and the Patriots had to settle for a field goal attempt — it seemed like a gimme from 35 yards, but Chad Ryland sliced it inches right and the first promising drive since the opening possession ended in brutal fashion. — Touri

Mac’s decision-making still remains spotty at best. On third and 3 at the Indy 17, he made an extremely high risk heave toward Stevenson. Lucky it didn’t turn into a disaster. — Finn

Stat adjustment — 11:02 a.m.

Looks like they are giving the Colts a zero-yard sack on that last play. Mac has five sacks, not four. — Price

Colts 7, Patriots 3: Nine takeaways from the first half — 10:55 a.m.

By Christopher Price

Two quarters are done, and the Patriots trail the Colts, 7-3.

Stat leaders:

Mac Jones: 10-11, 105 yards

Rhamondre Stevenson: 8 carries, 25 yards

Demario Douglas: 3 catches, 3 targets, 45 yards

Mike Gesicki: 2 catches, 2 targets, 22 yards

Gardner Minshew: 10-17, 119 yards

Jonathan Taylor: 13 carries, 41 yards, 1 TD

• The offensive energy for the Patriots was good out of the gate, but things petered out as the first half rolled on, thanks in large part to pass protection. (More on that in a second.) New England’s opening drive went for 13 plays, and included some strong running and a key third-down pass play that was converted by Mike Gesicki. But the two opening offensive sequences ended with sacks — the Patriots got a field goal on their first drive — and things were mostly sluggish after that. Another case of New England failing to build on some early flashes of success.

• That being said, this is a “winnable” game. Other than Taylor’s work on the first drive and a few connections with Michael Pittman, New England has done well to bottle up the Indy offense. The Patriots need to figure out a way to generate some sort of offensive rhythm — maybe more from Demario Douglas? — but after two quarters, this one is there for the taking for New England.

• You can’t put it all on the offensive line — some of it is timing and matchups — but Jones was sacked four times in the first half. (Dayo Odeyingbo got him three times.) Jones’s career-high for most sacks taken in a game is six. An ugly stretch for a New England offense that couldn’t build on the initial surge it showed out of the gate. I will say I liked the fake from Mac on the direct snap to Stevenson on the first play from scrimmage in the second quarter. The Patriots couldn’t necessarily build on it, but it was some outside-the-box thinking from Bill O’Brien on that play call.

• Kayshon Boutte was in the game-day lineup for the first time since the opener against the Eagles. The rookie didn’t get a target.

• Taylor is such a weapon for the Colts. He ran all over New England on the first drive of the game, finishing the opening quarter with nine carries for 31 yards. Regardless of the score, I’d expect to see a lot more of him in the second half. Defensively, the Patriots struggled to slow Taylor and the Indianapolis offense on the Colts’ first drive, but they held Minshew and Indy to a 3-and-out on the second and third series, and kept them out of the end zone the rest of the half.

• On defense for New England, Jack Jones sat for the start of the game for the second consecutive week, yielding to Shaun Wade. (Wade started opposite Jonathan Jones.) He was on the field for Indy’s third offensive series of the day. And Mack Wilson Sr. got the start at inside linebacker with Ja’Whaun Bentley on the bench.

• New England made an interesting special teams decision not to put a returned back for an Indianapolis punt roughly midway through the second quarter. The Colts were backed up deep in their own end, and it appeared that the Patriots were angling to try for a block. (Demario Douglas was stuck in a weird in-between there. Not sure what that was all about — he might have been the one to blame on that sequence.) But Indy got the punt off, going for 70 yards and tilting the field in their favor.

• Two other special teams notes: Chad Ryland connected on a 37-yard field goal attempt — he’s now seven for his last seven on his field-goal attempts. And Bryce Baringer had a terrific 79-yarder, and averaged 62.5 yards per punt.

• The Colts will get the ball to start the second half.

More of the same for New England — 10:41 a.m.

Another third down, another sack, another punt. Mac Jones found himself on the turf again, this time courtesy of Kwity Paye, and the Colts will have one more shot to extend their lead with 1:10 to go before halftime. — Touri

A booming punt by Bryce Baringer elicited some oohs and aahs from the crowd. This game has been so devoid of impressive offense that a 65-yard punt is one of the highlights. — Yang

Another sack of Jones — 10:29 a.m.

New England’s pass protection has left much to be desired, ceding its fourth sack on the game and forcing another three-and-out. Jones has dropped back to pass 12 times, so he’s getting sacked a third of the time. Not good. — Yang

Another drive ends up with Mac Jones on the turf; this time it’s Tyquan Lewis running over Rhamondre Stevenson to floor Jones before the Patriots quarterback had a moment to look up out of play action. It’s another three and out as the New England offense has completely stalled out after a strong opening possession. — Touri

A rough start for receivers ... — 10:27 a.m.

That 7-yard catch by Demario Douglas was New England’s first completed pass to a wide receiver — with 7:43 to go in the second quarter. — Yang

A big day for Dayo Odeyingbo — 10:21 a.m.

The Patriots’ interior linemen just can’t handle Dayo Odeyingbo — the Colts pass rusher went straight through David Andrews that time to get to Mac Jones on first down, putting the Patriots in a second-and-16 hole out of which they never climbed for New England’s first three and out. — Touri

Anyone predict Dayo Odeyingbo as their player of the game? Didn’t think so. It took him less than 18 minutes of game clock to pick up three sacks — matching his season total. — Finn

Jack Jones finally sees the field — 10:19 a.m.

Jack Jones is on the field to take his first snaps, so he was benched for two series. — Yang

Another special-teams blunder by New England — 10:15 a.m.

Why the heck didn’t the Patriots have a punt returner? — Finn

The Patriots managed to stop the Colts deep in their own territory and opted to go all-out on an attempt to block the punt. They didn’t. So, even though Rigoberto Sanchez’s punt dropped around the 37-yard line, the ball rolled to the 18-yard line because the Patriots didn’t have someone back as a returner. Another special teams blunder. — Yang

Drive ends with first Pats punt of the day — 10:12 a.m.

That Patriots drive was off to a solid start, with Rhamondre Stevenson taking a direct snap á la Kevin Faulk for an early first down, but it nearly turned to disaster when Hunter Henry fumbled after a 4-yard pickup, with his blushes spared by David Andrews jumping on the ball. Mac Jones had little chance on third down — Sidy Sow got smoked by Dayo Odeyingbo coming through the A gap and Odeyingbo’s second sack of the day leads to Bryce Baringer’s first punt. — Touri

They’re loving ‘Sweet Caroline’ at Deutsche Bank Park — 10:10 a.m.

Whoever is in charge of the music at Deutsche Bank Park is pandering to the Americans big time right now by playing “Sweet Caroline.” They even are showing the lyrics, so the crowd can sing along. — Yang

That has been played an awful lot while New England/Boston teams were losing lately. — Finn

Mack Wilson sidelined by head injury — 10:08 a.m.

Mack Wilson is now questionable to return with a head injury. Not good news, considering he started in place of Ja’Whaun Bentley, who is out with a hamstring injury. Expect the Colts to continue to lean on their run game. — Yang

Good look by Andrews — 10:06 a.m.

Props to David Andrews for fighting to recover that fumble by Hunter Henry. Had the Colts, already up 7-3, taken over at New England’s 41-yard line, the Patriots would have been in deep trouble. — Yang

Three takeaways from the first quarter — 10:04 a.m.

By Christopher Price

One quarter is in the books, and New England trails Indy, 7-3. Here are a few quick notes:

Mac Jones: 4-5, 39 yards

Ezekiel Elliott: 3 carries, 19 yards

Gardner Minshew: 3-4, 44 yards

Jonathan Taylor: 9 carries, 31 yards, 1 TD

• The Patriots opened with a strong sequence. New England got good yardage early on the ground — it looked like an old-school rumble with Jonas Gray out there as opposed to Rhamondre Stevenson or Ezekiel Elliott. However, the Patriots stalled out in the red zone, and had to settle for a 37-yard field goal from Chad Ryland, who is now seven for his last seven on field goal attempts.

• Excellent answer for the Colts. A 30-yard pass play from a scrambling Minshew to Isaiah McKenzie was a big third-down pickup for Indy, which really fed off the momentum following that play. Taylor gained 19 yards on the ground on the next three plays, pushing Indy into the red zone and (eventually) a 1-yard score from Taylor. It made it 7-3 with 58 seconds left in the quarter.

• Jack Jones was spotted on the New England sideline late in the first quarter — Shaun Wade got the start opposite Jonathan Jones. And Mack Wilson got the start at inside linebacker with Ja’Whaun Bentley on the bench.

Colts get on the board — 9:58 a.m.

The Colts didn’t need long to respond, moving the ball well on their own opening possession to take the lead on Jonathan Taylor’s 1-yard touchdown run on fourth and goal. The Patriots had a shot to stop the Indianapolis drive in its tracks on third and 6 from the Colts’ 29, but Indianapolis quarterback Gardner Minshew flashed his playmaking ability in stepping up in the pocket, evading pressure scrambling to his right, and hitting Isaiah McKenzie for a huge 30-yard gain on the run that sparked the eventual touchdown drive into life. — Touri

I was somewhat surprised Shane Steichen didn’t challenge the call that Michael Pittman Jr. was short of the goal line on second down. It sure looked as though he scored a touchdown, but the ruling ended up being a moot point with Taylor finding the end zone. — Yang

Shaun Wade starts again — 9:53 a.m.

Shaun Wade started at cornerback for the second straight week. J.C. Jackson didn’t make the trip, but Jack Jones did and opened the game on the bench. Last week, Wade played 13 snaps in the first quarter and then didn’t see the field. His usage will be worth monitoring, given the behavioral issues plaguing Jones and Jackson. — Yang

Patriots finish strong first drive with FG — 9:43 a.m.

The Patriots pieced together a very nice first drive to get on the board first, mostly relying on their running backs: Rhamondre Stevenson shouldered most of the load to open the drive with three carries for 15 yards, plus a catch for 2 more, before Ezekiel Elliott took over. Elliott broke off a couple big plays, most notably turning the corner on a screen pass for 19 yards before taking three carries of his own for another 19 to reach the red zone.

That’s as far the Patriots would get as things would finally stall out when the pocket collapsed around Mac Jones on third down, but a promising opening possession for the Patriots still netted a field goal from Chad Ryland. — Touri

Even though the Patriots settled for a field goal on their opening drive, it was encouraging to see them not only move the ball on the ground, but also continue to turn to the run game. Seven of New England’s 12 plays on that drive were carries by Rhamondre Stevenson or Ezekiel Elliott. Far too often this season, the Patriots have seemed hesitant to call consecutive run plays. — Yang

And we’re off — 9:31 a.m.

The game is underway.

Feeling the homefield advantage — 9:25 a.m.

The Patriots are the home team for this game — and you can tell. Players ran out onto the field (er, pitch) to the tune of Ozzy Osbourne’s “Crazy Train,” just as they do at Gillette Stadium. The crowd also seemed much more excited for the introduction of the Patriots, so we’ll see if that home field advantage continues throughout the game. — Yang

Predictions: Three of four are taking Indy — 9:20 a.m.

Yang: Colts 27, Patriots 17. Until the Patriots show they can move the ball consistently, I have no confidence they can outscore any team. Especially one that is averaging close to 25 points per game.

Volin: Against my better judgment, I’m going with Patriots 20, Colts 16. Gardner Minshew has struggled this year as Anthony Richardson’s fill-in, and especially struggles to push the ball down field. Expect the Patriots to load up the box to stop the run, put the game in Minshew’s hands, and force a couple of key turnovers.

Price: Indianapolis, 19-17. Maybe it ends today, but at this point, the Patriots haven’t earned the benefit of the doubt when it comes to a toss-up game like this one.

Finn: I went with the Colts, 32-17, in my preview, but I should probably give the Patriots’ defense a little more respect than that. The score is amended to 27-17.

Our pick: Colts players to watch — 9:15 a.m.

Yang: RB Jonathan Taylor. He rumbled for 170 yards against the Patriots in 2021, helping lead Indianapolis to a 27-17 victory. Carson Wentz only completed 5 passes that day. I could see the Colts relying on a similar recipe today, especially given the Patriots’ poor tackling lately. Plus, Ja’Whaun Bentley, one of the team’s top tacklers and run stoppers, is out with a hamstring injury.

Volin: CB Kenny Moore. He has three interceptions this season as the Colts’ top cornerback, and is the reigning AFC Defensive Player of the Week after victimizing Bryce Young for two pick-sixes last week in a Colts win over the Panthers. Mac Jones is tied for the NFL lead with nine interceptions, and he better be careful when looking Moore’s way.

Price: RB Jonathan Taylor. There’s a reason Deatrich Wise Jr. called the Indy run game a “two-headed monster” this week. Taylor and Zack Moss form one of the league’s most under-appreciated backfields. If they get going, it could be a long day for the New England defense.

Finn: I usually don’t go with the quarterback here, but I have to today. If you’re a neutral observer, Gardner Minshew is a delight to watch. He’s like a much, much, much less-talented, actually likable version of Brett Favre, fearless about making throws that some would call bold and others foolish. He’ll make plays today that make you say, “He’s in the top half of the QBs in this league,” and he’ll make some mistakes that make you wonder whether he has ever opened up the playbook. I wish the Patriots had him.

When was the last time the Patriots played outside the US? — 9:10 a.m.

The Patriots are going international for the first time since 2017, when Tom Brady threw for 340 yards and three touchdowns as New England blew out the Raiders, 33-8, in Mexico City. The Patriots were absolutely dominant in Mexico, taking a 30-0 lead into the fourth quarter, but Bill Belichick didn’t seem to particularly enjoy the experience.

“It’s a long way to go for a game,” Belichick said at the time. “It took a lot of manpower, a lot of hours, a lot of energy out of our organization to do that. We are exhausted from the trip.

“I think we’re fortunate there was no volcano eruptions or earthquakes, or anything else while we were down there. You have two NFL franchises in an area that I don’t know how stable the geological plates that were below us [were], but nothing happened, so that was good.” — Touri

Our pick: Patriots players to watch — 9:05 a.m.

Yang: QB Mac Jones. It feels as though Bill Belichick’s job security has dominated headlines — and rightfully so — but New England’s offense looked non-functional last week against Washington. Yes, there are multiple reasons outside of quarterback to explain why, but Jones needs to step up his play if he wants to keep a starting role either in New England or elsewhere.

Volin: WR Kayshon Boutte. He exists! The Patriots’ sixth-round rookie has been buried on the inactive list since Week 1, when he didn’t catch any passes and couldn’t keep his feet in-bounds. But with the Patriots banged up at receiver, once again missing DeVante Parker (concussion) and Kendrick Bourne (ACL), Boutte finally gets the call-up to the game day roster. Expectations shouldn’t be too high, but the Colts’ secondary is thin, and maybe Boutte can contribute a big play or two.

Price: WR Demario Douglas. The rookie receiver has grown into one of the most reliable aspects of the New England offense. He was listed on the injury report this week with an ankle issue, but with the injuries and ineffectiveness of many of his teammates, he would appear to be critical to the success of the Patriots today.

Finn: If the season keeps up the way it’s going, one of these weeks I’m going to go with “none.” (Sorry, it’s early, and I’m still humiliated by picking Tyquan Thornton last week.) I’ll play it safe today and go with Rhamondre Stevenson, who looked like himself last week with a 64-yard touchdown run and 129 total yards on just 13 touches.

About the stadium in Frankfurt — 8:55 a.m.

The Patriots will play at Frankfurt’s Deutsche Bank Park, which is more popularly known by locals as the Waldstadion, German for “forest stadium” because of its location in the city’s forest district. It’s primarily home to Eintracht Frankfurt, which currently sits seventh in the Bundesliga, Germany’s top soccer division, but was also once the home stadium of NFL Europe’s Frankfurt Galaxy from 1991-2007.

Deutsche Bank Park features a unique retractable roof design. Rather than the canopy retracting out into the external structure of the stadium, it instead contracts into the scoreboard in the center of the stadium.Touri

Kraft on NFL Network — 8:45 a.m.

By Matt Pepin

Patriots owner Robert Kraft touched on a number of subjects in a wide-ranging interview on NFL Network prior to the Patriots-Colts game in Germany.

He said he expects the NFL to continue to increase its footprint internationally, with “more games in more countries,” but the league placing a team in Europe might not happen “right away.”

Kraft also said having his team play in Germany was important because of the German sports culture and its appreciation of American football.

But most importantly, he was asked about the state of the Patriots, who are 2-7 entering Sunday.

“It’s really disappointing. I had hoped things would be a lot better [this season],” Kraft said. “… This isn’t what we were expecting to happen.”

My, how this rivalry has changed — 8:35 a.m.

Column by Christopher L. Gasper

Oh, how the mighty have fallen into lesser circumstances. Once the premier show in the NFL, the Patriots-Colts rivalry is relegated to football second fiddle in Frankfurt. It’s the follow-up to the Chiefs vs. Dolphins game played last Sunday at Frankfurt Stadium, part of the NFL spreading the gridiron gospel internationally.

The 18-12 overture of Manning vs. Brady this is not. The game features Colts backup Gardner Minshew vs. Mac Jones, a pair of QBs who boast more turnovers than TD passes this season. The Teutonic precision with which Tom Brady and Peyton Manning played the position is a distant memory. However, this sojourn to Germany represents a welcome change of scenery and routine for the Patriots and a winnable game.

Read more here.

The NFL’s goal? Remove the ‘American’ part of American football — 8:25 a.m.

FRANKFURT — It’s 11 a.m. on Saturday, and American football is in the air.

It’s not just the smell of bratwurst wafting through the city like a glorious Lambeau tailgate. Fans are whizzing footballs next to a sculpture of David and Goliath. A marching band rolls through Zeil Plaza. Fans congregate for photos around the 32 oversized NFL helmets placed throughout the square.

Marcel Daems and his two friends drove four hours from Cologne and spent $850 Euro each for hotel and tickets to Sunday’s Patriots-Colts game at Deutsche Bank Park. The friends are wearing Matthew Judon and Tom Brady jerseys, while Daems carries a replica Lombardi Trophy and wears a hoodie reading, “Mac [expletive] Jones.” They are thrilled to watch their favorite team, but not thrilled with the Patriots’ 2-7 record.

Daems and his buddies are right in the NFL’s wheelhouse — passionate, knowledgeable, and international. They are the product of a two-decade effort by the NFL to remove the “American” part of American football.

Read the rest from Ben Volin.

What Robert Kraft told Pats fans — 8:15 a.m.

By Emma Healy

Sunday marks the first time the Patriots will play in Germany, but that hasn’t stopped the franchise from amassing a dedicated group of fans in the region.

On Saturday, Patriots owner Robert Kraft addressed some of the team’s fans at Patriots Haus in Frankfurt in preparation for Sunday’s game.

Kraft told the crowd he spoke to the team after Saturday morning’s practice. He recalled a conversation he had with some fans who approached him earlier in the week. He said the fans had fond memories of former Los Angeles Ram Jackie Slater, father of current Patriot Matthew Slater, playing in a 1990 American Bowl game in Berlin.

“They remember plays of him, so I told [the team] every play tomorrow was so significant,” Kraft said. “They worked very hard, and getting a victory tomorrow was critical, and they gave me a big cheer, so let’s hope that translates to the field.”

Read more here.

Patriots inactives: No Ja’Whaun Bentley, but Kayshon Boutte is available — 8:10 a.m.

By Christopher Price

The Patriots just announced their inactives. Here’s the list, and here’s what the moves mean for the rest of the roster:

Linebacker Ja’Whaun Bentley (hamstring) will miss his first game of the season. Calvin Munson, who was elevated from the practice squad over the weekend, won’t necessarily fill Bentley’s shoes, his arrival on the game-day roster gives the Patriots another layer of depth. Jahlani Tavai will likely see an added layer of responsibility with Bentley on the sidelines.

No Trent Brown (personal/ankle) at left tackle means more of veteran backup Conor McDermott, who was elevated off the practice squad again over the weekend. Vederian Lowe, who has been on and off the injury report the last couple of weeks, could also serve as a backup at the position if needed.

DeVante Parker (concussion) tried to give it a go this week, but is also down again. From this viewpoint, it feels like a good a week as any to give rookie Kayshon Boutte a shot at being active on game day for the first time since the opener. If not, Jalen Reagor, who saw significant playing time last week against Washington, could see another spike in playing time with Parker out.

J.C. Jackson (personal) was left at home, leaving the door open for Shaun Wade (who Bill Belichick continues to praise) to get some playing time against the Colts. At the very least, it seems like most of the rest of the cornerback room is healthy, which means Jack Jones, Myles Bryant, Jonathan Jones should be good to go, despite the fact that Bryant (chest) and Jack Jones (knee) were on the injury report this week.

Two other healthy scratches: newcomer Alex Austin (who was added earlier this month) will sit against the Colts. And defensive lineman Sam Roberts is also officially out for today’s contest.

And Will Grier is the emergency quarterback.

When it comes to notable actives, Boutte is probably the biggest, as the rookie hasn’t been the field since the end of the opener, and appeared ticketed for a (mostly) redshirt year, a la James White. While there’s no guarantee he’ll see the field, it’s an encouraging sign that Bill Belichick is taking a look at all options to try and jumpstart the offense.

Matthew Slater nears the end — 8:05 a.m.

Matthew Slater wouldn’t outright say this season will be his last, but he acknowledged Friday he is “very close to the end.”

“I’m honestly just taking it day by day,” Slater said. “At my age, I’m happy I can just get out there and still run down the field without stuff breaking. I’m thankful to still be doing it and just taking it day by day.”

Slater, who is 38, contemplated retirement last season but opted to sign a one-year contract to return for his 16th season.

The NFL fined Slater $14,819 for unnecessary roughness on a punt return during the fourth quarter of last Sunday’s loss to the Commanders. Slater was not penalized on the play. — Yang

It’s a family affair for Ezekiel Elliott — 8:00 a.m.

Several family members of players made the journey from the United States, but running back Ezekiel Elliott has family from Finland coming to the game.

Among those who will be in attendance are Elliott’s grandfather, Leon Huff, who played pro basketball in Finland. Not all of Elliott’s family has been able to watch him live, so he’s looking forward to Sunday.

“My grandpa, he tries to come see us once a year in the States,” Elliott said. “[The others] haven’t seen me live. I’m sure they’ve seen videos of me on TV, but I’m sure they’re not up when we play. I think it’s going to be a cool experience for them to see me in action.” — Yang

On display in Frankfurt: The lack of star power — 7:50 a.m.

By Nicole Yang

FRANKFURT — As if the absence of talent was not already obvious enough on game days, the promotional materials in Germany made the lack of star power abundantly clear.

Running back Rhamondre Stevenson, tight end Hunter Henry, and quarterback Mac Jones were the faces of the NFL’s marketing campaign for Sunday’s game, which was a stark contrast to the headlining players for last week’s game in Frankfurt. Patrick Mahomes, Travis Kelce, Tua Tagovailoa, and Tyreek Hill set a high bar, but the Patriots pale in comparison. Stevenson is a talented back, but Jones is staring down an uncertain future as a starter and Henry is entering the last year of his contract.

With rookie quarterback Anthony Richardson (shoulder) out for the season, the Colts didn’t offer star-studded signage, either. They turned to linebacker Shaquille Leonard, who has voiced concerns about his role, and wide receiver Michael Pittman. Perhaps they were unsure about the status of running back Jonathan Taylor at the time of the planning.

Plenty of fans throughout the city sported Patriots jerseys, though few repped players from this year’s team. Tom Brady, Julian Edelman, and Rob Gronkowski were far more common than the likes of Jones, Stevenson, or Henry.

Chad Finn’s prediction — 7:40 a.m.

By Chad Finn

Let’s keep this simple: The Colts have scored at least 20 points in every game this season, including games of 38 and 31, and two of 27. The Patriots have scored 20 points on the nose once (in the Week 1 loss to the Eagles) and surpassed it once (when they scored 29 in their outlier of a win over the Bills in Week 7). The Patriots are 26th in the NFL in points allowed, 27th in yards allowed, and 29th in points scored. They don’t have the firepower to keep up with even the mediocre Colts, and there’s no reason to believe they have the discipline. The best hope for the Patriots, whose main priority should be draft position, is that they lose with dignity and without dysfunction. Colts 32, Patriots 17.

Unconventional Preview: The Patriots simply don’t have enough firepower to keep up — 7:30 a.m.

By Chad Finn

Maybe it went wrong with Mac Jones much sooner than I’d realized.

Consider this assessment after one of his uninspiring performances. It probably sounds pretty familiar, even repetitive:

“Jones . . . was adequate. But skills that are supposed to be his strengths — accuracy, quick processing, seeing the field — have sometimes been inadequacies this season. He missed an open Rhamondre Stevenson on a deep throw on the second possession, and there were other occasions where he didn’t see open secondary receivers.”

Ignoring the specifics of the receiver (Stevenson) that he missed in this instance, that paragraph could have come from at least a half-dozen postmortems this season. But it’s not from this season, or even last. I wrote that in 2021, Jones’s hopeful rookie season, when the Patriots fell to the Colts in Week 15, 27-17. Jones’s performance in the loss, in which the Patriots trailed, 20-0, looks like something of a harbinger of the demoralizing situation they find themselves in now. But who could have known? The Patriots dropped to 9-5 with that defeat. They are 11-19 since.

Maybe getting away to Germany, where the Patriots will face the Colts Sunday (9:30 a.m. EST kickoff), will offer some sort of respite. But it’s unlikely to yield the Patriots’ third victory of the season.

Read the rest of Chad Finn’s Unconventional Preview here.



Nicole Yang can be reached at nicole.yang@globe.com.Follow her @nicolecyang. Christopher Price can be reached at christopher.price@globe.com. Follow him @cpriceglobe. Ben Volin can be reached at ben.volin@globe.com. Chad Finn can be reached at chad.finn@globe.com. Follow him @GlobeChadFinn. Amin Touri can be reached at amin.touri@globe.com. Katie McInerney can be reached at katie.mcinerney@globe.com. Follow her @k8tmac.