Monday Night Football brings us a solid matchup this week, as the Indianapolis Colts head to New Orleans to square off with the Saints. The Colts head into the matchup at 6-7, a couple of games behind the 8-5 Texans and Titans for tops in the AFC South. The Saints have already clinched the NFC South title, and, sitting at 10-3, they are fighting for a first-round playoff bye.
The Colts were sitting pretty in the division a few weeks ago, and then they lost four of the last five games, including two to division opponents, the Texans and Titans. The Saints have won three of their last four, the loss being to the 49ers last week. Drew Brees and the Saints will look to rebound against a team that’s struggled the past few weeks. The Saints are favored by nine, with the over/under at 46.5.
Some Bad Luck
Between T.Y. Hilton being in and out of the lineup and Jacoby Brissett missing a start due to injury, the Colts aren’t just victims of poor on-field play, but some bad luck as well. Hilton is questionable headed into Monday night’s contest with a nagging calf injury.
The upside of this team has been the rushing game on both sides of the ball. The Colts rushing offense ranks sixth in the league in yards, while the rushing defense ranks eighth in yards allowed.
Led by linebacker Darius Leonard, the Colts’ defense has been no joke in 2019. Leonard has four picks on the season, including two a week ago, one of which he returned for a touchdown. Leonard also leads the team in tackles, interceptions, passes defended, and forced fumbles, and isn’t far behind in sacks and tackles for a loss.
Leonard has been the heart and soul of the defense, and the Colts will need a monster game from him to beat the likes of the Saints.
Sinners and Saints
Sean Payton’s Saints are having another Saints-like year, as they’ve led the pack in the NFC South once again. Their offense ranks fifth in the league, while their defense rolls in at 16th.
Brees has never needed much of a defense, but it doesn’t hurt that the Saints have at least had an average one. They’ve really stepped up against the run game, as they rank fifth in the league in opponents’ rushing yards per game.
The Saints’ passing offense ranks eighth in the league in passing yards, thanks in large part to the connection from Brees to superstar wideout Michael Thomas. Thomas has 1,424 receiving yards and seven touchdowns on the season. Thomas might be the most sure-handed wide receiver in all of the NFL, a trait that I’m sure Brees and Payton appreciate. If the Saints line can keep Leonard and Justin Houston off their quarterback, strap in for some points.
Anything You Can Do
These two teams are kind of similar in their play-calling on defense. Offensively, well, the Colts don’t have a Drew Brees. That being said, if the Saints’ rushing defense falters, Indianapolis can make them pay. The Colts are 6-5-2 against the spread this season, while the Saints have been a bit better at 8-5 against the spread.
Oddly, the Saints are only 3-4 at home against the spread, while the Colts are 3-1-2 on the road. It seems to me that the Saints will put up a ton of points in this game, and they will be able to cover the nine-point spread. The pick here is the Saints by a lot, as they win and cover. And my money is on the over.