INDIANAPOLIS — Instead of talking about Sunday night’s eagerly anticipated showdown with the New England Patriots, the Indianapolis Colts have said little.

“It’s the next game, nameless, faceless opponents,” tight end Dwayne Allen joked as he attempted to downplay the prime-time match-up. “It’s just the next opponent. It’s just a game. I wish I had more for you.”

Playing coy won’t change anything about this game.

Nine months ago the Patriots blew out Indianapolis in the AFC championship game, then contended with allegations they used underinflated footballs.

Throughout the investigation, the Colts, who alerted NFL officials before the game, didn’t say much. They still haven’t.

The more pertinent question is this: Have the AFC South leaders actually closed the gap on their old nemesis?

In the past four games, New England has outscored the Colts 189-73, and run for 772 yards and 15 TDs.

So as quarterback Andrew Luck and his teammates tried to move past getting routed again by New England, General Manager Ryan Grigson sought solutions.

Now the revamped Colts (3-2) are quietly waiting for their chance to see how they stack up against the Super Bowl champs.

“This team hasn’t played that team, right?” Coach Chuck Pagano said when asked about what’s happened in previous games. “Got no relevance.”

Indianapolis has good reason not to fuel the circus that’s coming to town. There’s no assurance yet that Luck’s injured right shoulder will allow him to play even after he returned to full practice Monday.

Pagano said he was “supremely confident” Luck would start against Jacksonville and backup Matt Hasselbeck sounded just as confident of Luck starting last week at Houston.

Luck missed both games.

With or without their quarterback, the Colts’ supposedly high-powered offense hasn’t been in sync, the secondary has been battered by injuries and Indianapolis still hasn’t proven it can consistently stop the run – a dangerous combination against a team that is 4-0 against Luck.

Even worse, the Patriots (4-0) are one of the NFL’s six remaining unbeaten teams and have shown no indication of slowing down.

Plus, they have the added motivation of proving they can beat the Colts with properly inflated footballs. But the debate on both sides is over.

“They’ve got new people, new personnel. But they want to beat us and we want to beat them,” Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels said Tuesday. “It’s not very complicated.”

To improve the Colts’ chances, Grigson needed to change the blueprint.

He completely scrapped last season’s starting defensive line, plugged rookie draft picks Henry Anderson and David Parry into the lineup, and signed free-agent defensive end Kendall Langford.

In Week 5, Indianapolis limited Houston running back Arian Foster to 2.2 yards per carry and the Texans to 2.9 yards.

But as the Colts know, Houston is not New England. And this is not just another game.

“It’s a very, very good team that’s undefeated coming into town,” Luck said. “There certainly is a history between us and them, but it’s also a new year.”