The New Orleans Saints host the Indianapolis Colts on Monday night and while the Saints are favorited, the Colts definitely should not be taken for granted.
The New Orleans Saints are coming off of a painful loss to the San Francisco 49ers and seemingly have an easier task in Week 15 on Monday Night Football against the Indianapolis Colts.
The Colts started the year as a bonafide playoff contender even after the news of Andrew Luck retiring but have since faltered because of injuries and a bit of bad luck. The Colts have lost three games in a row and have lost five of their last six.
While anything is possible in the AFC, the Colts have a lot of work to do to get into the playoffs, especially with the Pittsburgh Steelers owning the tiebreaker over them. The Colts would need to win out and the Steelers and Titans would both need to lose out for the Colts to have a chance.
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Because of the recent trends, the Colts do not seem to pose much of a threat to the New Orleans Saints. However, there definitely are things to worry about against the Colts, especially things that are negatively impacting the Saints that the Colts have nothing to do with.
The Saints are up against the wall with a slew of injuries that is going to impact the team. Left guard Andrus Peat is not playing and both left tackle Terron Armstead and backup guard Will Clapp were limited in practice on Friday.
And that brings up worry number one, which would be the Colts simply draining the clock, jumping out to an early lead and controlling this game. While the passing game for the Colts is rough without T.Y. Hilton, who was limited in practice, the running game is very solid behind one of the few offensive lines that is better than the Saints.
That offensive line is the difference-maker and with mostly backup defensive lineman and linebackers, the Saints could potentially have a very tough time stopping the run. If Hilton plays and Marshon Lattimore plays like he did last week then the banged-up secondary is going to be easy to throw on as well.
There are worries offensively for the Saints as well. While Drew Brees looked like vintage Brees last week, there are still concerns of Brees’ age as he simply is not even close to being the same with pressure in his face.
The Colts are going to be able to get pressure with a decent defensive line and a really good linebacker core. The offensive line being banged up is going to make it very tough to convert third and longs with pressure in Brees’ face and could make it tough to get the running game going as well.
To win this game the New Orleans Saints need to come out firing and score early to put the Colts in a deficit that they cannot get out of. However, the longer the Colts are in this game the more likely that they could suck the life out of the Saints and grind their way to an ugly victory.
New Orleans must score early and often and put the pressure on the Colts. Because if not, the Colts are going to be able to execute their gameplan, which will consist of keeping the Saints’ offensive off the field as long as possible, and when they are on the field, focus on exploiting that banged-up offensive line.
We will know fairly early in this game what kind of game it is going to be. Hopefully it is with some big scoring plays from the New Orleans Saints.