The Patriots and Colts have familiarity not only because they seem to have played each other every season over the past decade, but also because of a few direct connections between the organizations, which are highlighted below:
Kicker Adam Vinatieri. Mr. Clutch for the Patriots during the team's run of three Super Bowl wins in four seasons, Vinatieri bolted for Indianapolis in free agency in 2006 and has remained a very good kicker since. The 39-year-old has had some struggles this season, missing half of his kicks from between 30-39 yards, but remains a weapon for Indianapolis on special teams.
Cornerback Darius Butler. Butler never panned out for the Patriots, playing for just two seasons with the team before being waived and eventually landing in Carolina for the 2011 season. But the 2009 second-round pick has been thrust into a starting role in Indianapolis, and delivered with an interception return for a touchdown in Week 10 against Jacksonville. The UConn graduate remains a terrific athlete.
Safety Sergio Brown. The special teamer didn't survive the final cuts with the Patriots during the 2012 training camp, but it wasn't long before Brown found work again, as he was picked up by the Colts and has played in every game this season. His role mirrors that which he held in New England -- primarily a special teams contributor -- and he has six tackles in 2012.
Others of note:
Offensive tackle Anthony Castonzo. The Colts' first-round pick in 2011, Castonzo was a standout tackle at Boston College, where he was the first true freshman to start on the offensive line in nearly a decade. He was taken just five slots after Patriots left tackle Nate Solder.
Linebacker Shawn Loiseau. Picked up by the Colts as a member of their practice squad on Wednesday, the Shrewsbury, Mass., native and Merrimack College graduate has found a home in the NFL after spending the 2012 training camp with the Houston Texans.