The Patriots are known for playing mind games with their opponents and it's rare that Bill Belichick's roster is ever outsmarted.
"If I'm Indy, I'm goin to seriously consider, right here, making sure I sit and not play Andrew Luck and leave (Matt) Hasselbeck in right now, " Irvin said on NFL Thursday Night Kickoff. "First of all, Hasselbeck just won two games and I want to give us an opportunity where (if) we meet again, we have chance.
"When they beat this team down Sunday -- and they will beat this team down Sunday -- it was with Hasselbeck. So in the playoffs, I can always have in my pocket, 'We were not at full strength. The kids were not healthy. We were not at full strength, and now we have (Luck).'"
Irvin's not wrong when he assumes that the Patriots are going to be relentless and bury the Colts if and when they have the chance Sunday -- they've already run up the score on opponents who haven't accused them of deflating footballs. However, it's very unlikely that Chuck Pagano would sabotage an entire game so that the Colts can potentially hold some type of advantage -- or, as Irvin suggests, an excuse -- over the Patriots when they inevitably meet in the postseason. Also, the way the Colts have played against bottom-level teams, there's no guarantee they even make the playoffs, let alone play the Patriots, who are almost guaranteed a first-round bye if they keep up their historic pace.
Luck has been nursing a shoulder injury, is listed as questionable and Hasselbeck did perform extraordinarily well last Thursday in Houston, but as long as the Colts' franchise quarterback is healthy enough to go, there is no doubt in my mind that he will play. Whether Luck will play well against the undefeated Patriots remains to be seen.