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Ben Smith

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Out to vanquish Foxborough evils

And now: Foxborough.

Cute little village. Can’t get there from here. Mailing address: Geographic Center, Middle of Nowhere, USA.

You know those isolated wide spots in the road that Stephen King always populates with vampires and homicidal children?

That’s Foxborough.

Where the Colts go again today. Where they have seen horror, speaking of King. And where another chance awaits, maybe the best yet, to grow into themselves as a football team.

Already they are 6-3 and winners of four straight games, and, if the playoffs began today, they would be in. They are, against all odds, a contender.

Just how viable, we get to see today, in Foxborough, where Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski and Darth Hoodie himself, Bill Belichick, stand ready with the rest of the New England Patriots to put them on the rack once more.

“It’s a great test for us to see where we stand,” interim coach Bruce Arians said last week. “We felt like we had a playoff game at home with Miami, now this will be the first playoff atmosphere for us on the road.”

Or a torture chamber, depending on your perspective. Peyton Manning could tell you that, having lost there in the playoffs a couple of times and in the regular season a few other times. And Peyton is gone and Andrew Luck, the heir apparent, is becoming more apparent every week, and it’s a young, excitable, sis-boom-bah bunch that will face the Patriots this time, instead of the sober business-attire Colts of the Manning years.

So are the sis-boom-bah Colts ready for this?

“I believe so. I believe so definitely. We’ve done a good job of concentrating on the little things and getting better every week,” rookie tight end Dwayne Allen says.

“I don’t think we’ll make it bigger than it is. I don’t think we’ll get too caught up in the excitement of it,” Luck says.

And you, Cory Redding?

“Every week is big,” the Colts’ veteran defensive end says. “But this one in particular because of what we’re doing and what we’ve done the last few weeks.

“It’s one of those deals where we’re getting mentally ready and going up there to do our job and that’s to continue this winning streak, keep stacking wins and find a way to win in New England.”

And maybe that happens, and maybe it won’t. Maybe these Colts are different, and all that bad Foxborough karma is gone now, swept away with so much else. Either way, you sleep on them at your peril.

“When you have this many young players on one side of the ball, it’s hard to speculate early in the season that you’re going to be in the playoff hunt, especially with all the injuries that we’ve had on defense,” Arians said last week. “But, I think it’s a very resilient locker room. They obviously have a purpose.

“Teams find purposes to bond together. This one has found a purpose to bond together in a very bad situation in that their coach got sick. It’s galvanized this group to do whatever they can to extend this season until (Chuck Pagano) gets back. Once a group finds a purpose and they actually play for each other, it’s not offense, it’s not defense, it’s not one guy getting all the credit and everybody getting selfish. It’s putting all that aside and just continuing Chuck’s motto of ‘Team, team, team.’ ”

Look out, Foxborough. Here they come.

Ben Smith has been covering sports in Fort Wayne since 1986. His columns appear four times a week. He can be reached by email at; phone, 461-8736; or fax 461-8648.