Preseason Preview: Saints visit Colts

colts_vs_saints

The Saints (2-0) visit Indianapolis (0-2) Saturday August 23rd at 7:00pm.  The Colts are coming into this preseason match-up feeling relatively good about the play thus far.  Although the win-loss total doesn’t look good for the Colts, the team has played well in both games, and especially against the Giants.  The Colts dominated the Giants on both sides of the ball for 3 quarters of play before blowing a 26 point lead in the fourth quarter, largely due to third and fourth string players.  The win may look good for the Giants, but in reality many football analysts felt that the Giants should be concerned about their play, and the opposite can be said for the Colts who have been praised for their offensive prowess led by Andrew Luck. Besides the offense playing great, the defense has played well in both games- so much so, that the defense may be the highlight of the preseason so far.

Game 3 of the preseason is considered to be the best barometer to measure teams against one another that most closely simulates the play of regular season.  Both teams’ first string offense and defense will play into the third quarter, providing the teams a last dress rehearsal before the start of the season.  Teams will generally game plan their opponents, compared to previous games where much more emphasis is placed on evaluating individual match-ups or examining scenarios for individual players.  Both teams also will be looking to come out of the game unscathed trying to secure that their game day rosters will be intact.

The Saints will get their first dose of Drew Brees leading the offense on Saturday, after resting the veteran signal caller up to this point in preseason.  Reporters spoke with Brees about playing on Saturday, and here is what he had to say,

“As you approach the third preseason game, this is kind of the final dress rehearsal for the season, so this is where the season becomes very imminent.”  Reporters questioned Brees about his desire to play in the game, “No question, no question, I feel good, today (Monday) was my first day to go full go, I’ve been taking it very slow, deliberate, no use in rushing something that could make it worse, so I just wanted to make sure it was all good, I’m still not 100%, I hope that by Saturday I am.” 

Expect Brees and the high-powered offense from New Orleans to test the Colts’ seemingly improved defense from last year. 

As for the Colts, Andrew Luck addressed the media on Monday and talked about returning to the Colts complex and how it the team prepares, 

“I know this is a great week to prepare yourself for the rhythm of a regular season game, it’s a training camp mentality, and we need to work.”  Reporters then asked him to assess what he’s seen of the first-string offense, “Yeah, I think we’ve done some good things, we’ve moved the ball, put points on the board, ah, I wish we could put more points on the board in the redzone, but we’ve done a decent job on third down conversion and in some situations we could always be better.”  Luck on the running game, “I’ve seen some good things, and it’s tough running the ball against the Giants, they’re gonna put an extra guy in the box, and we know that going into the game, and I thought Trent ran the ball really well, hit the hole hard, the line did a great job, and it’s a work in progress, and we’ll keep on grinding and know that if we want to be successful, consistently successful, we’re going to have to run the ball.”

Looking at both quarterback’s comments, it seems that both teams will be preparing for this game as if it were a normal season game.  Brees will be trying to get a feel for his team’s offense in live action, where Luck and the Colts will be trying to fix the areas they have not been particularly sharp at up to this point in the preseason.  Expect the Colts to give Reggie Wayne and T.Y. Hilton some extra attention as this will in all likelihood be the last game they play in until the season opener. Also look for continued growth in the running game as well as the offensive line learning each others’ tendencies. With Bradshaw now being cleared for contact, expect for him to (hopefully) get some touches with the first string offense along with T-Rich.

What to watch for?

The Saints

Jairus Byrd had been discussed much during the off season, some of it centered if he would be a fit with the Colts, since they had lost their starting safety, Antoine Bethea.  Byrd signed with the Saints for 6 year, 54 million dollar contract and is expected to make his debut with his new team.

Mark Ingram expects to catch more passes compared to his relatively limited use of this ability in his first three seasons.  He is anxious to show off his abilities once he gets in the open field.

Jimmy Graham’s last tune-up before the regular season.  Will his goalpost dunks continue?

The Colts (The Good Guys)

The offensive line, probably their last opportunity to get some timing down during actual gameplay.  Jack Mewhort will return to guard, and Johnotthan Harrison will continue at center for the injured Khaled Holmes.

Reggie Wayne and T.Y. Hilton will likely get their last major work out in before the start of the regular season.  Expect Reggie to be limited but still have some productive snaps.  It will be our first glimpse of what he looks like in live gameplay coming off his ACL injury. It should be a good test for the receivers being covered and hit by a good Saints secondary.  I would also suspect Hilton to play limited snaps, just enough to where both the team and himself are comfortable but also trying to prevent unwanted injury before the regular season.

Ahmad Bradshaw is expected to get some limited reps in the game after his spinal fusion surgery.  Will he look like the monster that was bruising the 49ers before being injured or something else? 

Both teams should provide high-powered offenses as the centerpiece in the game; however both teams are showcasing better defenses that have seemingly improved from the previous seasons. The Colts D-Line has been the impressive in its two outings this preseason, and the Saints with the addition of Jairus Byrd are building one of the league’s better secondaries.

The Stats (2014 Preseason)

Saints (Offense)

PTS/YDS/PASS YDS/RUSH YDS
26.0 (7TH)/375.0 (8TH)/252.0(5TH)/123.0(10TH)

Colts (Offense)
PTS/YDS/PASS YDS/RUSH YDS
10.0(26th)/222.0(30th)/163.0(24th)/59.0(31st)

Saints (Defense)
PTS/YDS/PASS YDS/RUSH YDS
24.0(25th)/388.0(29th)/238.0(26th)/150.0(27th)

Colts (Defense)
PTS/YDS/PASS YDS/RUSH YDS
13.0(11th)/235.0(5th)/134.0(4th)101.0(19th)

The Saints have the statistical edge on the offensive side, but the Colts lead the Saints in all defensive categories. The thing to remember is both teams have mix-matched players and haven’t played with complete unit the entire game. Also, as in the last game, the Colts dominated the Giants for 3 1/2 quarters but ended up losing. My point is that stats, especially in the preseason can be deceiving.

Game Details:

Saturday August 23rd at 8:00pm on CBS

Lucas Oil Stadium

Radio Call on the Vectron Radio Network

What Vegas Thinks:

Colts are favored by -2 over the Saints

Score Prediction:

Colts  31
Saints 27

Advertisements

4 responses to “Preseason Preview: Saints visit Colts

  1. Hey Brian, I can´t wait for this game, especially to confirm the strong and consistent that our defense can will be in the regular season…we don´t have. We have not doubts about the work of our offensive team, but I hope see a real version of Trent Richarson, and more of Mewhort, and specially I am excited to see in action to Wayne, =)….
    A pleasure read your notes… Greetings from Mexico City!!!

    • Just read that Mewhort seems to have some injury may not play, Reggie is also a game time decision-but I think he will get some snaps. Other encouraging news is Khaled Holmes is trending ahead of schedule. Also don’t know if you’ve read that Grigson has put a little heat on Richardson to perform. This should be a great match up for both teams. The Colts D has been especially impressive thus far, hard to translate preseason play to regular-but I like this bunch, seem tougher/more physical than last year. One other thing of interest will be the safety situation. Delano Howell has some neck injury-seeing specialist, thought he might win the job, but he could be done for the year…Sounds like coaches like Sergio Brown, we’ll see how that plays out, Pags says no frontrunner yet. Glad we have fans of the Shoe in Mexico City. Will you be able to watch the game this weekend? Will have recap up with thought after the game.

  2. I did read about Howell´s injury but I didn´t know news of Mewhort, that is bad, but the news of Holmes come back sounds great… sure I will see the game tomorrow, and after i will try have recap of the game… have a nice game day!!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s