Ryan Kelly Returning to the Colts’ O-Line in Time for a Massive AFC Showdown With the Patriots Is Just What the Doctor Ordered

Despite a miserable 1-4 start to the regular season, the Indianapolis Colts are in a pretty good spot heading into Week 15. They jumped all the way up to the No. 6 seed in the AFC during their bye week and currently field one of the hottest offenses in the NFL. Thanks to MVP-caliber performances from running back Jonathan Taylor and a massive bounce-back year from quarterback Carson Wentz, the Colts control their own destiny heading into the final few weeks of the season.

However, that doesn’t mean it will be an easy conclusion for Indy. They have a challenging schedule up ahead, beginning with the red-hot New England Patriots.

The Colts have a massive Week 15 showdown with the Patriots

Taking place on Saturday Night Football this weekend (yes, Saturday), the Colts are staring down their most important game of the season thus far. Not only are the Patriots the current No. 1 seed in the AFC, but this is a rivalry that goes back well over a decade. The countless battles that Peyton Manning and Tom Brady had while playing for the Colts and Patriots are legendary.

However, this is a new chapter in the Colts/Patriots saga. The Colts are led by Carson Wentz, who’s in the midst of a fantastic turnaround season after a disastrous final year with the Philadelphia Eagles in 2020. The Patriots are led by Offensive Rookie of the Year candidate Mac Jones, who has thus far looked the part of a serviceable Tom Brady replacement.

With the Colts looking to cling onto the No. 6 seed and the Patriots looking to solidify their hold on the top seed, it’s a huge game with significant implications on both ends.

Center Ryan Kelly is returning from the COVID-IL

The Colts’ strength this season has undoubtedly been their ability to run the football. Yet, they’ve done this with a largely beat-up offensive line.

Against the Patriots, this shouldn’t be the case.

Just in time for his team’s biggest game of the year, two-time Pro Bowl center Ryan Kelly is being activated off the COVID-IL list. He missed the Colts’ Week 13 game against the Houston Texans and there was speculation regarding his availability for Week 15. Luckily for the Colts, he was activated on December 14.

The Colts will have their center as they begin their practice week to play the Patriots on Saturday.

Coming off a Week 14 bye, Indianapolis has activated Ryan Kelly off the reserve/COVID-19 list, the team announced on Tuesday.

Myles Simmons, Pro Football Talk

The Colts will look to beat the Patriots at the line of scrimmage

Colts center Ryan Kelly.
Ryan Kelly | Michael Hickey/Getty Images

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With a healthy offensive line and Jonathan Taylor leading the charge at running back, the Colts are expected to stick to their guns against a highly-rated Patriots’ defensive line.

Expect a ton of carries for Taylor up the middle of the defense as the Colts look to beat New England at their own game.

If Indy is able to win the line of scrimmage, they should, in theory, have a good shot at pulling off the upset. Wentz is playing well enough to where you can trust him to hit a few big throws, and the Colts’ defense is getting better as the weeks go by.

Regardless, Kelly returning to the fray is fantastic news for Indianapolis. They can go into battle with a fully healthy O-Line.

All stats courtesy of Pro Football Reference.