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New England Patriots rip Luck-led Indianapolis Colts

Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts are writing a nice story this NFL season as potential playoff upstarts. Just don't call them real Super Bowl contenders yet.

The Colts saw what a title contender looks like Sunday night in Foxborough in a 59-24 loss to the New England Patriots. The Patriots scored twice on interception returns and another time on a punt-return touchdown. If you start spotting the Patriots points when quarterback Tom Brady is on the sideline, things are bound to get ugly. Brady was extremely sharp, too, throwing for 335 yards and three touchdowns on 35 attempts.

Colts rookie quarterback Andrew Luck turned over the ball four times and probably will be blamed for the loss, but this was a total team meltdown. The Colts' secondary has quietly been among the worst in the NFL all season. The Patriots converted eight third downs in 12 tries. The Colts' special teams was awful; Julian Edelman had 117 yards on two punt returns.

This game doesn't really tell us that much about the 6-4 Colts. We never thought they could compete with the elite in the AFC. Next week's game against the Buffalo Bills will tell us a lot more. That's a game a playoff-bound team needs to win. If the Colts lose to the Bills, that last AFC wild-card spot will be wide open.

The Patriots, meanwhile, are on to bigger matters. Up three games in the AFC East, they aren't thinking about whether or not they will make the playoffs. They're angling for a first-round bye.

Follow Gregg Rosenthal on Twitter @greggrosenthal.

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