INDIANAPOLIS — It's the "Don't Remind Me" Bowl for Indianapolis Colts fans in Week 15 as they take on the Saints down in New Orleans on Monday Night Football, but at the same time it's a little chance at redemption.
As we all know, the Saints topped the Colts in Super Bowl XLIV during the 2009 season, and they've beaten the Colts in both regular season matchups since then as well. In 2011, the Saints won, 62-7, so there's plenty there for the Colts to rectify in front of a national television audience in Week 15.
Both of these teams are well-rounded on paper and are each popular picks to make a deep postseason run. This should be one of the most highly-anticipated games over the last month of the season.
- Monday, Dec. 16, at 8:15 p.m. ET
- New Orleans, La.; Mercedes-Benz Superdome
- TV: ESPN (Monday Night Football)
- Saints lead, 7-5 (Colts are 0-1 in the playoffs), and have won the last three games dating back to 2010.
- Last game — Week 7 of 2015. Saints won, 27-21.
- HC Frank Reich
- OC Nick Sirianni
- DC Matt Eberflus
- STC Bubba Ventrone
- HC Sean Payton
- OC Pete Carmichael
- DC Dennis Allen
- STC Darren Rizzi
OTHER SIGNIFICANT CHANGES
- Overall, this was a pretty quiet offseason for the Colts for a change. It was about building onto and shaping the current roster rather than shaking things up or making sweeping changes. Former starting receivers Ryan Grant and Dontrelle Inman both departed in free agency, and veterans Mike Mitchell and Al Woods also were not re-signed by the team. Offensive lineman Matt Slauson retired following a 10-year career.
- The Saints made some key additions through free agency and the draft, adding Buck Allen and Latavius Murray in the backfield to replace Mark Ingram, tight ends Jared Cook and Alize' Mack to replace Benjamin Watson, as well as drafting Erik McCoy at center after Max Unger retired. In watching pre-draft tape, I didn't see any offensive lineman put guys on the ground as much as I saw McCoy do it.
EARLY STORYLINES/THINGS TO WATCH
- Andrew Luck* vs. Drew Brees Showdown —* The first thing many people will think of with this game coming up is a matchup between two elite quarterbacks on a huge MNF stage. We've seen Brees duel it out with plenty of top quarterbacks on national TV for years, so now is Luck's chance to step up to the plate.
- Establishing the Horseshoe — The Saints are one of the most respected teams in the league, so anyone beating them will bring attention to that team. With the Colts already considered to be one of the AFC's strengths, a victory in New Orleans would establish them as a true contender. With this being one of the final three regular season games these teams have left, it could also put guys like Luck, linebacker Darius Leonard and head coach Frank Reich into major awards races.
- Super Bowl LIV Preview? — Like we've mentioned, these are two popular playoff contender picks in separate conferences. What’s the possibility that this could also be a preview of Super Bowl LIV, which is to be played in February 2020 at the site of their last Super Bowl meeting in Miami, Fla.?
- Colts WR T.Y. Hilton* vs. Saints CB Marshon Lattimore —* Going into his third season, Lattimore is widely considered to be one of the league's top cover corners, and Hilton one of its biggest playmakers. Can Luck and Hilton's chemistry the extra boost in this matchup?
- Colts OT Braden Smith* vs. Saints ED Cameron Jordan —* Jordan is capable of beating any tackle at any time with his blend of speed and power. The Colts have a bright, young right tackle in Smith, so this will be a big test for the second-year protector.
- Colts LB Darius Leonard vs. Saints RB Alvin Kamara — With how involved Kamara is in the Saints' passing game, we're almost certain to see numerous meetings between 2017's Offensive Rookie of the Year and 2018's Defensive Rookie of the Year.
- Colts CB Pierre Desir* vs. Saints WR Michael Thomas —* Thomas is one of the NFL's most consistent, dominant receivers (had at least five catches in 13 of 18 games in 2018), but luckily the Colts have a corner who could match up well with him in Desir. At 6-1, with 33-inch arms, Desir can use his length to help counter Thomas' size.
- Colts S Malik Hooker* vs. Saints WR Ted Ginn Jr. —* Ginn has perfected the art of the downfield bomb over the course of his career, and even though he's 34 years old, he's still one of the best at it. The Colts' center fielder will likely have his attention set on Ginn at least a few times throughout the game.
- Favorite: Saints (-5.0)
- Over/Under: 53
- Passing — QB Andrew Luck (4,593 yards)
- Rushing — RB Marlon Mack (908 yards)
- Receiving — WR T.Y. Hilton (1,270 yards)
- Touchdowns — TE Eric Ebron (14)
- Tackles — LB Darius Leonard (163)
- Sacks — DL Denico Autry (9.0)
- Interceptions — CB Kenny Moore II (3)
- Passing — QB Drew Brees (3,992 yards)
- Rushing — RB Alvin Kamara (883 yards)
- Receiving — WR Michael Thomas (1,405 yards)
- Touchdowns — RB Alvin Kamara (18)
- Tackles — LB Demario Davis (110)
- Sacks — DE Cameron Jordan (12.0)
- Interceptions — CB Eli Apple, S Chris Banjo, CB Marshon Lattimore, S Marcus Williams (2)
COMPARING 2018 STATS
- Total offense — 7th (386.2 YPG)
- Scoring offense — 5th (27.1 PPG)
- Passing offense — 6th (278.8 YPG)
- Sacks allowed — 1st (18)
- Running offense — 20th (107.4 YPG)
- Third down offense — 1st (48.6%)
- Red zone offense — 5th (67.1%)
- Total defense — 11th (339.4 YPG)
- Scoring defense — 10th (21.5 PPG)
- Passing defense — 16th (237.8 YPG)
- Sacks — Tied-19th (38)
- Running defense — 8th (101.6 YPG)
- Third down defense — 23rd (41%)
- Red zone defense — 11th (55.1%)
- Time of possession — 18th (30:05)
- Turnover differential — Tied-13th (2)
- Total offense — 8th (379.2 YPG)
- Scoring offense — 3rd (31.5 PPG)
- Passing offense — 12th (252.6 YPG)
- Sacks allowed — 2nd (20)
- Running offense — 6th (126.6 YPG)
- Third down offense — 7th (45%)
- Red zone offense — 4th (68.4%)
- Total defense — 14th (349.1 YPG)
- Scoring defense — 14th (22.1 PPG)
- Passing defense — 29th (268.9 YPG)
- Sacks — Tied-5th (49)
- Running defense — 2nd (80.2 YPG)
- Third down defense — 24th (41%)
- Red zone defense — 23rd (63%)
- Time of possession — 4th (31:53)
- Turnover differential — 7th (+8)