Last week on Thursday Night Football, even though the New Orleans Saints made it a game in the fourth quarter, they couldn’t keep up and fell to the Jacksonville Jaguars 31-24.
With that early week seven game, Dennis Allen and the Saints’ coaching staff has had extra time to rest up and prepare to take on the Indianapolis Colts. New Orleans has won the last four matchups against Indy, including a 31-17 win in the Super Bowl and a record-setting 62-7 performance in the Superdome back in 2011.
Colts rookie quarterback Anthony Richardson has been ruled out for the remainder of the season due to surgery to fix a Grade 3 AC Joint sprain in his throwing shoulder. That injury has given Gardner Minshew another chance to get on the field and he’s made the most of it.
ISSUES ON OFFENSE
Throughout the season, we’ve seen the offense of the Saints have the potential to light up the scoreboard like the prime Drew Brees days. It’s been quite the opposite this season as the offense fails to put up 20 points per game.
Offensive coordinator Pete Carmichael and starting quarterback Derek Carr have gotten most of the blame for the lack of points scored. As soon as the New Orleans offense gets inside the red zone or in field goal range, Carmichael makes questionable calls at critical down and distances, and Carr will make the wrong read or misfire on a throw that ends up taking points off the board.
The offensive line has really struggled through most of the season to block in both the pass and run game. We have seen this line get better with each game by giving up pressure less consistently and fewer sacks, but as a team, the New Orleans Saints are averaging 98.1 rushing yards per game despite having one of the best defenses in the league that keeps the game within reach.
OLAVE IN TROUBLE
Going along with those offensive struggles, we’ve seen Saints wide receiver Chris Olave drop passes, give up in the middle of routes, and look lost over the last few weeks. This has led to frustration for Carr and from the Who Dat Nation. Then, earlier this week, Olave was arrested for going 70 mph on a 35 mph speed limit road but is no longer behind bars.
Carr said that he has had productive conversations this week and that the former Ohio State Buckeye had a few great days of practice ahead of their game against the Colts.
Olave and Carr will need to show that they are back on the same page again and the young pass catcher can’t keep dropping passes if New Orleans wants to get back to .500 on the season and reach their goal of making the playoffs.
With the season-ending injury to Richardson, this has opened up another opportunity for Minshew to show what he can do. The former Washington State Cougar has played well in almost every game thus far.
Indianapolis had an opportunity late but lost by one point to the Cleveland Browns last Sunday. Despite putting up almost 1,200 passing yards and five touchdowns, Minshew has thrown four interceptions in the last two games, including three against the Jacksonville Jaguars two weeks ago.
The Saints’ defense has created 12 turnovers, eight being interceptions so far this season. New Orleans has also sacked opposing quarterbacks 13 times, ranking seventh worst in the league while Colts signal callers have been sacked 19 times, tied for 10th most amongst other teams.
SERIES RECORD: Saints lead 9-5
Last 5 Meetings:
2019: NO 34 – IND 7
2015: NO 27 – IND 21
2011: NO 62 – IND 7
2010: NO 31 – IND 17
2007: IND 41 – NO 10
Derek Carr: 163-255, 1600 yards, 6 TD, 4 INT
Alvin Kamara: 69 carries, 261 yards, 1 TD
Chris Olave: 39 catches, 471 yards, 1 TD
Carl Granderson: 4.5 sacks
Pete Werner: 47 tackles (28 solo)
Blake Grupe: 16-of-20 field goals, Long of 54
Gardner Minshew: 105-161, 1187 yards, 5 TD, 4 INT
Zack Moss: 114 carries, 523 yards, 4 TD
Michael Pittman Jr: 42 catches, 489 yards, 2 TD
Sam Ebukam: 4 sacks
Zaire Franklin: 88 tackles (58 solo)
Matt Gay: 12-of-14 field goals, Long of 56
James Hurst, T, Ankle, Out
Juwan Johnson, TE, Calf, Probable
J.T. Gray, S, Hamstring, Questionable
Landon Young, T, Hip, Probable
Ryan Ramczyk, T, Concussion, Probable
Demario Davis, LB, Knee, Questionable
Tyrann Mathieu, S, Foot, Questionable
Marcus Maye, S, Hamstring, Questionable
Taysom Hill, QB, Chest, Questionable
Alontae Taylor, CB, Hip, Questionable
Max Garcia, G, Illness, Questionable
Jimmy Graham, TE, Illness, Questionable
Andrus Peat, OL, Ankle, Questionable
JuJu Brents, CB, Quad, Out
Kylen Granson, TE, Concussion, Out
Eric Johnson II, DT, Ankle, Questionable
Zack Moss, HB, Elbow/Heel, Questionable
Braden Smith, T, Hip/Wrist, Out
Tony Brown, CB, Ribs, Questionable
Ryan Kelly, CB, Rest, Probable
DeForest Buckner, DT, Rest, Probable
The New Orleans Saints will travel to Indiana to take on the Indianapolis Colts. Kickoff in Lucas Oil Stadium is scheduled for Sunday, October 29th at noon.