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“We’ve played most of the games (with the Patriots) in November,” Colts coach Jim Caldwell said. “Both teams have been playing fairly well at that juncture during past years, and the games end up being significant games just from the standpoint that they’re so competitive. It’s still only one game in the grand scheme of things, but it’s one that is highly competitive.”

Of the 12 matchups starting in 2001, seven have been decided by seven points or less. The biggest margin of victory in each of the last four games has been four points.

“I think if you look at most of our games against Indianapolis, they’ve all been very _ most of them _ have been very close, whichever way they’ve gone,” Belichick said. “I think the overall competitiveness of the games would, (with) a play or two here or there, (change) things in a little different direction.”

On Nov. 30, 2003, the Patriots won 38-34 when they kept the Colts from scoring with a second-and-goal at the 1 with 21 seconds left.

But on Jan. 21, 2007, the Colts won the AFC championship game _ also 38-34 _ when they held on at the end. Brady had moved the Patriots from their 21 to the Colts 45, then threw an interception to Marlin Jackson.

The Patriots were 6-1 against the Colts with Branch on the team. Then they traded him to Seattle and they were 1-4 against the Colts without him.

“Hopefully, we can go out and rewrite that,” he said.

If not this year, maybe next year.