Steve Ovenden looks at the Colts and Saints and whether the Colts can get back on track or if it will be another loss.
It is week 15 and the Colts are heading down south to New Orleans for Monday Night Football. An important match for the Colts, a win keeps them barely in the hunt for a playoff spot and a loss puts that final nail in the coffin for the season. The harsh reality suggests that hopes for the Playoffs is over, as a lot of results will have to go their way and they will still have to win all of their own games, starting with the Saints. The Saints have already secured the NFC South and a playoff position but they are still playing for what seed they will have. They currently sit at third seed but first and second are still in reach. This game is not going to be easy for Indy.
Both teams have something in common this week, they are both coming off losses. While this is not actually unusual for Indy nowadays, the Saints are coming off a narrow defeat against this seasons in form and current first seed, San Francisco. Two points separated the two teams at the end of which will probably be hailed as one of the games of the season. The Colts on the other hand can not be put in the same category. Another loss, their third straight, came at the hands of Tampa Bay. A close game with just three points between them, it was another fourth quarter collapse after a promising first half that saw the game go this way.
The Colts have a run heavy offense and will need to break the Saints wall this week. New Orleans boast a 5th ranked defence against the run but not invulnerable to allowing big yards on the ground, having allowed four games of 100+ yards. This will be promising news for Marlon Mack who is 100 yards short of the 1000 yard milestone this week. Mack was stopped quite well against Tampa last week but to be fair was coming back from a hand injury. Even though Indy relies on the run game, going through the air is not completely out of the question. Against the Bucs, Jacoby Brissett made some decent plays throwing to Marcus Johnson who had just over 100 receiving yards. The receiving positions for the Colts have been bolstered with the news that T.Y Hiltons status has been moved to questionable as he has being seeing some limited participation in practice this week. Alongside this, news broke that Dontrelle Inman has returned for another stint with the Colts. Inman came to the Colts last season and put up some productive numbers in the regular season and in the playoffs. He comes this season from the Chargers who placed him on IR after going down with a quad injury.
New Orleans head into this one sitting in the 3rd seed position in the NFC with 1st (San Francisco) and 2nd (Green Bay) still very catchable. Home field advantage is the goal, so from here on out, every game is a must win and that is starting with the Colts. The Saints are reasonably healthy going into this one with Tight End Jared Cook (concussion) and Kiko Alonso (quad) being very notable absentees from practice. Drew Brees still has his main weapons in Running Back Alvin Kamara and Wide Receiver Michael Thomas who is looking to add to his 1424 receiving yards he already has this season. Indy’s defence will need to be top of its game this week to stop this trio alone, especially as injuries have been playing their part on this side of the ball too. Another performance from Darius Leonard like last week will be required but Brees will probably already have him on his radar.
This game, unfortunately, is likely to be the one that ends the Colts season. Even if a miracle should happen, they will have to rely upon other results going their way to still have a shot at post season. The Saints have been strong all season, even when Brees was injured and it will be a tough ask to go to the Superdome and come away with the win.
Players To Watch
Indianapolis Colts – Marlon Mack (Running Back)
After a disappointing outing last week, Mack will want to make amends by getting his 100 yards to reach the milestone of 1000 for the season
New Orleans Saints – Michael Thomas (Wide Receiver)
Thomas will want to help his team move up he seeding’s by adding to his already impressive numbers
Last Time They Met
New Orleans Saints 27 @ 21 Indianapolis Colts
Regular season game 25/10/2015
Indianapolis Colts 20 @ 34 New Orleans Saints