The Saints are going to see speed in Indianapolis.
Almost all of the Indianapolis wide receivers can run. Fast. T.Y. Hilton once ran a 4.34 40-yard dash, Donte Montcrief clocked in at 4.4 and rookie Phillip Dorsett ran it in a blazing 4.33 seconds in February.
“This team is designed to run defenses off the field,” coach Sean Payton said.
“They’ve got real good team speed. I think you see it and when you’re talking about T.Y. Hilton and you’re talking about (Donte) Moncrief, who I think is playing real well,” Payton continued.
If the Saints do not play fundamentally sound, the Colts have the personnel to make it hurt.
It’s difficult to predict how New Orleans will combat Indianapolis’ weapons since the secondary is battling injuries and will be without Keenan Lewis (hip/stomach) and Damian Swann (concusison).
Previously, it could have made sense to have Swann cover Montcrief in sub packages with Brandon Browner moving inside to match up with tight ends. It’s doubtful that happens now. With both Swann and Lewis out, Kyle Wilson will likely receive some snaps at cornerback, as could Brian Dixon.
Whoever is in there is going to have to be ready to provide coverage and turn and run.
At the top, it still seems likely Breaux will pair off with Hilton. Browner will likely cover whoever else is on the opposite side, with some safety help. Wilson, if he moves down after serving mostly at safety, would likely cover whoever lines up in the slot.
The injuries are unfortunate because the Saints have had trouble covering tight ends and Browner has done a decent job when asked to handle that task.
Whoever is on the field, the Saints need to make sure they have tight coverage and keep up with the speed to give the defensive line to get after quarterback Andrew Luck, who has been susceptible to pressure this season.
While his offensive line has done him no favors, Luck has completed only 35.6 percent of his passes this season when facing pressure.
The key there isn’t selling out and constantly blitzing. It’s generating pressure with a standard four-man rush.
FOUR DOWNS: Nick Underhill breaks it all down
1 Stay clean, Stay focused Dating to 2006, the Saints are 34-1 when they do not have a giveaway. That’s not surprising in itself. What is is that the Saints are 15-19 in the week following those games and average 1.6 turnovers, coach Sean Payton said. New Orleans needs to stay on point and focused to win this game.
2 Breauxing out
Delvin Breaux is no longer a secret. People notice him, and he’s starting to get national recognition after shutting down Julio Jones last week. This week will see him try to pair up with the speedy T.Y. Hilton. Breaux has had success against other speedy receivers this season, but Hilton is a different caliber of player.
3 PRessure, Pressure The New Orleans pass rush looked legitimate against the Falcons. The team generated consistent pressure and kept Atlanta quarterback Matt Ryan off balance. They’ll need to do the same this week against Indianapolis quaterback Andrew Luck, who has struggled in the face of pressure this season. It’s a key to victory.
4 RUNNING HARD The Patriots showed again that Indianapolis is suspectible to a strong running game that is committed to pounding it up the middle. The Saints have had issues run blocking this season, but if they can figure it out, there will be lanes for the running backs to work with. New Orleans just needs to be committed to finding them.
KNOW YOUR OPPONENT: A LOOK AT the Colts
Colts QB ANDREW LUck
He still has work to do before he can be considered in the same realm as the Tom Bradys and Aaron Rodgers of the world, and his recent shoulder injury isn’t helping things, but he has the arm talent to shred apart a defense. The Saints are going to have to be on point this week or Luck will take advantage of any inches given up. That means not getting beat off the line or having a zone fall apart.
Colts LB Trent cole
It’d be easy to overlook Cole since he hasn’t recorded a sack this season and figure he’s not a problem. But he is a problem. The Indianapolis pass rusher has found himself around the quarterback often this season, hurrying throws, but he he just hasn’t arrived quick enough to get a sack. Whether that changes this week or not, he’ll find a way to impact some plays and make Drew Brees uncomfortable.
Colts RB FRANK GORE
The Colts running back got off to a slow start, but he managed to rack up 98, 86 and 78 yards in three of his last four games. Really, though, it doesn’t matter what running back the Saints are facing. Until this team figures out to stop the run, the running back on the opposing team is going to be someone to key on, whether it’s Gore or someone else. As it stands, that is one of the biggest weakness of the defense.
OUT: OL Andrus Peat (knee), DB Keenan Lewis (hip/stomach), DB Damian Swann (head)
PROBABLE: OL Terron Armstead (knee), G Tim Lelito (shoulder), WR Marques Colston (shoulder), P Thomas Morstead (right quad), LB Dannell Ellerbe (hip), LB Michael Mauti (foot), S Jairus Byrd, LB Ramon Humber
- The big injuries, obviously, are at the top with Lewis and Swann.
The situation involving Swann is somewhat curious. He was a full participant during Wednesday’s practice, was limited on Thursday, and then sat out of Friday’s practice. He also told reporters he passed the concussion protocol earlier in the week.
What happened throughout the week is a bit of a mystery, but it seems safe to assume that he suffered some type of setback.
Lewis was limited to eight snaps against the Atlanta Falcons and saw a specialist for his hip last week as his recovery has not gone as smooth as hoped.
OUT: S Mike Adams (hamstring) DOUBTFUL: S Clayton Geathers (knee)
PROBABLE: LB Nate Irving (knee), LB Jerrell Freeman (groin)
THE ADVOCATE SAYS ...
Colts 28, Saints 27
This would have been a pick of the Saints if either Damian Swann or Keenan Lewis were healthy. But now there are too many unkowns in the secondary. It wouldn’t be surprising at all if the Saints play this one tough and my pick ends up wrong. There are things there for New Orleans to take advantage of. But there are too many unknowns about how the secondary will match up.
JOEL A. ERICKSON
Colts 34, Saints 28
I can see this game going either way. The Colts’ offensive line is leaky, and the defense doesn’t have the kind of pass rush that should be able to consistently affect Drew Brees, giving the Saints a chance against the Colts’ secondary. On the other hand, they have a fleet of speedy receivers who might create matchup problems, and the running game is good enough to take advantage of the run defense.
COLTS 21, SAINTS 20
Picking the Saints to lose a close one, but that’s how close I think they can come to springing an upset. Indianapolis has no impressive wins, certainly nothing like the pounding the Saints handed the Falcons. The Colts gave New England a rough time last Sunday, but they had to be pointing to that emotional game. There must be a comedown after that. The Saints may well take advantage.