Sep 21, 2015; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck (12) is sacked by New York Jets player Quinton Coples (98). Coples was called for a penalty on the play. New York Jets defeat the Indianapolis Colts 20-7. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports
Match-up number one: The Colts awful offensive line.
There are a number of similarities between the Saints and the Colts, but perhaps nothing is more similar than the fact that both teams have suffered through what would be generously called sub-par offensive line play. The two best games the Saints have played this year defensively came against the two best offensive lines ironically enough, but if the Saints are going to get their first road win they will have to beat a bad line. The Colt’s offensive line might actually be worse than the Saints at this point in time (especially considering that reports are showing Terron Armstead is likely to be returning).
Interestingly enough the last player I talked about from the previous game is the first player I want to focus on for this week’s game: Cam Jordan. Jordan has actually had a good season so far this year,despite his lack of production on the stat sheet. I think his two best games by far this year have been the games against the Dallas Cowboys and the Atlanta Falcons, and that’s interesting because they’re the two best lines we have played. Cam Jordan is the best defensive lineman that the Saints have without question (dubious praise at best to be sure). However, I don’t think it is a coincidence that the two best games he has had in my book are the two games where Bobby Richardson started. It isn’t that Richardson is a star or anything like that, but his constant effort and tenacity for the game have had a proven positive effect.
Richardson will need to continue his strong rookie season in order to allow Jordan to have as good as a game as he should. Like most things in this game a lot of one player’s success is dependent on the efforts of his teammates, and this isn’t an exception. The Saints secondary must hold its own against the Colt’s receiving threats long enough to give the line time to get to the quarterback. Each member of the line has to do their job in order to prevent the quarterback from stepping into the pocket or scrambling to extend the play, and the linebackers MUST control the intermediate part of the field to support the other two units. Those are the facts of the game, but when there is a weakness on the opponent’s side of the field it’s the players job to take advantage of it. The Saints may have one of the weaker defensive lines in the NFL today, but if they play the way they did last Thursday on Sunday in Indianapolis they will have a significant advantage in the game.
Luck very well may be the best young quarterback in the game today, but as we have seen with Drew Brees over the last few years, when a quarterback is exposed to consistent pressure the chances of them making critical errors goes through the roof. The Saints have forced an unusual number of turnovers the last couple of weeks (unusual for them anyway), and with a team with the small margin for error that they have that is a huge equalizer. The best possible way to ensure the Saints get their third victory of the season is to force turnovers and give the offense some extra chances to put points on the board.
Next: 2. Running game