Six Points: Saints vs. Colts
The Colts look to put last week’s fake punt debacle behind them when they take on the visiting Saints on Sunday.
Indianapolis (3-3), which has had to deal with a week’s worth of criticism following the 34-27 loss to New England, hopes to build on their lead in the AFC South while silencing some of the noise surrounding the team.
New Orleans (2-4) is coming off an impressive 31-21 win over then-undefeated Atlanta Falcons.
Here are three keys to the game for both the Saints and the Colts.
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1. Get to Andrew Luck
The Saints have seemingly put together a legitimate pass rush, and are currently tied for 15th in the NFL in total sacks with 12. Luck was sacked three times for 23 yards against the New England Patriots during their 34-27 loss in Week 6. Expect the likes of Cameron Jordan and Hau’oli Kikaha, who lead the team in sacks, to be all over Luck in this one, and hopefully they force a few turnovers.
2. Figure out the run game, somehow
The Saints may have scored two rushing touchdowns in their Week 6 victory over the Atlanta Falcons, but as a team they rushed 32 times for just 81 yards, a 2.5 yard per carry average. This simply has to improve. Indianapolis has allowed 112.7 yards per game on the ground this season, so whether it’s Mark Ingram, C.J. Spiller or Khiry Robinson, someone needs to get the ball rolling and take the pressure off Drew Brees.
3. Find the man getting separation, and feed him the ball
Brees seemed to find a consistent hole in Atlanta’s defense last Sunday, and tight end Benjamin Watson was taking full advantage. It was obvious that he was the man open and making plays, as he caught 10 balls for 127 yards and one touchdown. He received more than twice as many targets (12) as the next closest player (five), and it obviously worked out. It may not be Watson this week, but there’s going to be a player ready to step up, and Brees will take full advantage.
1. Attack from the outset
The Colts enter the game under a tremendous amount of scrutiny. Going up against a Saints defense that gives up the most yards in the NFL (409.7) provides a prime opportunity to change the narrative. Luck and company need to put up a dominating effort to help take the pressure off the team.
2. Don’t go away from Gore
Frank Gore had just 13 carries for the Colts last week, with Chuck Pagano acknowledging after the game the team got away from running the ball as the game wore on. Luck is coming off a solid game throwing the ball, but the Colts need to establish the running game and stick with it.
3. Unleash Robert Mathis
Drew Brees has been sacked 15 times in five games this season, tied for eighth-most in the league. The Colts have announced their intention to give Mathis more snaps as he continues to work back into shape after tearing his Achilles last season. Indianapolis needs a consistent pass rush and it’s time to find out if the 34-year-old Mathis can provide it.