From what I'm hearing, on Monday the Patriots and the Colts will determine who wins this year's Super Bowl. If the Colts win, Peyton Manning would have finally "solved" the Pats and would be ready for world dominance. If the Pats win, Peyton Manning may as well just try a new sport.
Last year the Steelers beat up the Pats on Halloween and supposedly the AFC torch was passed, and then the Pats went on to win the Super Bowl. Monday's game will be fascinating, but by playoff time it won't mean much. There's still a long season to go, and if the Pats and Colts meet again in the playoffs a game in early November won't impact it much.
As for the game, the Colts defense gets to prove if it's any good against a legitimate offense, and if the Colts offense doesn't put up points against this Patriots defense, I'd be very surprised.
As for the Patriots, last week was disappointing. After a bye week, I expected to see some injured players return and see some improvement in the secondary and in stopping the run. Against the Bills the Patriots defense didn't stop the run and gave up big passing plays. That's not a good combination with Manning, James, and Harrison coming into town.
So will their be improvement on Monday? The Pats cut last week's starting strong safety, so now they just have a rookie back there. Maybe Seymour comes back this week, maybe Randall Gay comes back, and maybe Colvin, Vrabel, Bruschi, and McGinest will be a strong enough linebacker core to compensate for the rest of the defense.
In other words the Patriots offense needs a big game. Their rookie offensive linemen need to protect Brady and contain Freeney and Dillon needs to run a lot.
I'm not confident about this game, but no matter what happens the Colts will still need to prove they can beat other physical defenses like the Steelers and the Broncos, and the Patriots will still have time to get healthy and tweak their team against the weak AFC East. Again, it's just November.