Welcome back, folks. It feels like an eternity since the New Orleans Saints last took the field. Ten days ago, the Saints beat the Atlanta Falcons 31-21 on Thursday Night Football to improve to 2-4. As for the Indianapolis Colts, they are coming in to today off of a short week, losing to the New England Patriots this pas Monday night 34-27 to fall to 3-3. Both teams have played disappointing football thus far, especially the defenses. The last time these two played was in 2011, when the Saints dominated 62-7. The Colts were led by Curtis Painter, as Peyton Manning watched from the sidelines as he recovered from his fusion surgery in his neck. Prior to that game, the last time they played, Tracy Porter iced the game with a pick-6 that no Saints fan will ever forget.

Saints Offense vs. Colts Defense

Saints Team Offense

  • Total offense: 387.0 yards per game (7th in NFL)
  • Scoring offense: 22.3 points per game (17th)
  • Pass offense: 302.3 yards per game (3rd)
  • Rush offense: 84.7 yards per game (31st)

Colts Team Defense

  • Total defense: 401.8 yards allowed per game (29th in NFL)
  • Scoring defense: 24.5 points per game (18th)
  • Pass defense: 289.2 yards per game (28th)
  • Rush defense: 112.7 yards per game (19th)

Pass Offense

Drew Brees has slowly gotten back to his old self in the past few games. If his shoulder is still bothering him, it has not been very noticeable. Willie Snead continues to be his favorite target, although Ben Watson had a break out game against the Falcons a week ago, potentially leading to more involvement going forward. Brandin Cooks makes plays when called upon, but it certainly has not been the start that he hoped for. After missing last week with a shoulder injury, Marques Colston looks set to return to action today.

Colts fans can relate to what we have been seeing from this Saints defense against the pass. They are giving up a lot of yards and struggling to create pressure on the quarterback. They are allowing just under 290 yards passing per game and have only sacked opposing quarterbacks eight times in six games. All eight of those sacks have come from different players, too, as no one has more than one. They have six interceptions, which have all come from the safeties. Strong safety Mike Adams leads the team with four, while free safety Mike Lowery has two.

It is certainly a favorable match-up for Brees and the Saints passing offense. With a quarterback like Luck on the other side of the field, they will need to take advantage of it and do as much as they can early on to prevent the Colts from getting in to a groove and pulling away. As we head in to each game, I keep waiting to see when Sean Payton will feature C.J. Spiller more, but that game still has not come.

Rush Offense

What a disappointing start it has been for Mark Ingram and the rushing attack. After an off-season full of moves that made it apparent that the Saints wanted to solidify the rushing attack, they have failed in producing that so far. Ingram has just 307 yards rushing so far, which is right at 50 yards per game. New Orleans has been banged up on the offensive line, as every starter but Max Unger and Zach Strief has missed time. It appears, though, for the first time since Week 2, the Saints will have all five starting offensive linemen on the field today.

While the Colts have not been great at stopping the run, linebacker D’Qwell Jackson has been phenomenal so far. He was 71 tackles in just six games, seemingly being wherever the ball goes on every down. Defensive end Henry Anderson has 26 tackles of his own, while leading the team with six tackles for a loss. Safeties Adams and Lowery are also very prouctive against the run, recording 31 and 33 tackles, respectively.

Saints Defense vs. Colts Offense

Saints Team Defense

  • Total defense: 409.7 yards allowed per game (32nd in NFL)
  • Scoring defense: 27.3 points per game (28th)
  • Pass defense: 271.5 yards per game (24th)
  • Rush defense: 138.2 yards per game (30th)

Colts Team Offense

  • Total offense: 347.2 yards per game (19th)
  • Scoring offense: 21.0 points per game (23rd)
  • Pass offense: 250.5 yards per game (13th)
  • Rush offense: 96.7 yards per game (22nd)

Pass Defense

Like I mentioned earlier with the Colts pass defense, the routine for the Saints has been no pressure on the quarterback and tons of time to find an open receiver. They did a much better job last week against the Falcons, sacking Matt Ryan five times. Three of those came from Cam Jordan, who exploded on to the scene after a very quiet start to the season. He had just one before that. Jordan also recovered a fumble, which was created by Kikaha on a strip sack of Ryan to end the game. Speaking of Kikaha, he and Jordan are tied for the team lead with four sacks each. Delvin Breaux leads the team with seven passes defended, while Brandon Browner follows behind with five.

It has been a very similar start to the 2015 season for Andrew Luck and the Colts passing attack. Luck, much like Brees, sustained a mile shoulder injury. He missed two games, returning for last week’s loss to the Patriots. In the four games he has played, Luck has averaged 266 yards per game to go along with 8 touchdowns and 7 interceptions. T.Y. Hilton is generally Luck’s favorite target, as he leads the team with 33 receptions for 456 yards and has one touchdown. Donte Moncrief has been solid in his second season in the NFL out of Ole Miss, as his four touchdown receptions lead the team. Indianapolis signed Andre Johnson in the off-season, but he has not been able to produce as much as they hoped, catching just 16 passes for 163 yards and two touchdowns, which both came from Matt Hasselbeck in one of the games that Luck missed. Coby Fleener and Dwayne Allen present a two-headed attack from the tight end position, combining for 26 receptions for 229 yards and two touchdowns.

Do not let the shotty numbers from Luck fool you. This is a dangerous offense with a lot of fire power. Even at full strength, today would be a tough task for the Saints defense, but they will be without two of their top four cornerbacks. Keenen Lewis was ruled out on Friday, as well as Damian Swann, who is still recovering from a concussion sustained against the Philadelphia Eagles two weeks ago. Lewis was listed for both his hip and stomach on the injury report, so it is not quite clear as to which it is that is keeping him out.

Rush Defense

The run defense has played very poorly, as well, allowing gigantic holes for opposing running backs. It was a good thing the Saints took control early and never let up last week against the Falcons, because Devonte Freeman and Tevin Coleman were shredding the run defense. They combined for 17 carries for 140 yards, which is 8.2 yards per carry. Kenny Vaccaro leads the team with 39 tackles, while rookie Stephone Anthony follows closely behind with 38. Anthony is the team’s leader with four tackles for a loss. Dannell Ellerbe missed the first few games of the season, but is becoming more and more active. He led the team with 14 tackles in last Thursday’s win against Atlanta.

Indianapolis made a splash in free agency when they signed Frank Gore, who appeared to be all set to go to Philadelphia. Gore has been good when given the opportunity, but his usage became a bit limited when the team was trailing in the three games that the Colts lost. He has totaled 403 yards rushing with three touchdowns so far, while average 4.5 yards per carry.

The story line to watch today will be if Gore can get his first 100 yard rushing day against the favorable match-up. He’s yet to break the century mark in a Colts uniform, but today may be his best chance so far. You can always count on Andrew Luck to make plays that can beat you, but the Saints will need to try and keep Gore tamed or things could get ugly.


While I was highly encouraged by how the team bounced back after getting dominated in Philadelphia just a few days earlier, this team still has not shown me enough to have confidence in their ability to go on the road and do what they need to pull out a win.

Prediction: Colts-30, Saints-23

Check back tomorrow morning for my post game report covering everything that happens today. Enjoy the game and as always, Who Dat?!

Follow David Billiot Jr on Twitter @DCBilliotJr