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  1. Oswlek

    Oswlek Rookie

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    Disclaimer: This will likely be a little long (I know, big surprise :rolleyes: :D ) and may even span multiple posts. Please wait to respond until I actually say I'm done. Thanks.

    NE O / Indy D

    Going into the Dallas game, I felt optimisitc about NE's ability to stop them because there were some similarities between Cleveland's and Dallas' offenses. Both had big time #1 WRs with excellent receiving TEs. Both had QBs willing to take shots and both had decent OLs. I felt that the week of preperation for Cleveland would help lay the groundwork for stopping the 'Boys.

    Why do I bring this up? Because I feel the exact same way about the Skins' / Colts' defenses. IMHO, they are very, very similar. Both teams generate their pass rush from the DL with minimal blitzing or even stunting. Both teams lean heavily on safety play for both run and pass defense. Both teams have good, physical CBs. Washington stayed nearly the entire game in a Cover two with both safeties deep, as Indy normally plays passing teams. Both teams' defensive structure is based on forcing teams to make a lot of plays to get one single TD.

    Now, just like Dallas' OL proved to be a lot bigger than Clevelands, and Romo offers some issues with scrambling that Anderson doesn't, Indy obviously brings other things to the table that Washington did not. I think that Sanders is a more complete safety than Taylor, being better in both run and pass defense. Frankly, Sanders may be the best safety I have seen in long time at filling running lanes. Somehow he does that and still is around the ball when passed as well. He is a tremendous player. Freeney and Mathis are also much better pass rushing ends than Washington has. Despite these issues, I still think that NE has an advantage having prepped for a Cover 2, DL rushing scheme last week and now being able to just focus on Colt specific difficulties.

    Going into the Washington game, it was a fair criticism that NE had not faced a good defense all year. But what many seem to completely ignore is the fact that Indy has faced some dreadful offenses as well. Even the ones they faced were typically missing some major players.

    Hou - no Johnson or either of the top two RBs.
    TB - first game w/o Williams or Petigout.
    TN - they just stink offensively
    Den - no Walker
    Car - Vinny!

    Really the only good offense they faced was Jax, and that was immediately wiped out by the replacement of Gray for Garrard. In Garrard's three drives, BTW, two of them started inside their own 25 and ended in Indy territory. The 2nd one was the one he got hurt on. Let me thrown my hat into the ring and say that I believe that Indy's defense, while better than last year, is ariticially inflated.

    Even if I felt Indy's D is for real, past history indicates that NE will be able to move the ball successfully. Indy has never held NE under 20 points in these recent regimes. NE put up 20 points on Indy with an abysmal WR corps still trying to figure things out in Nov and they were able to put up 27 offensive points later in the year after they were finally able to patch together a very good offense with duct tape and bailing wire. Half of those points came without any credible rushing threat and with one of the WRs proceeding to crap his pants in front of millions of people. Frankly, it was only an obvious miscall that kept NE under 30 offensive points in that game.

    By comparison, I point to the Jets. They faced NE the week after Indy and also faced them in the playoffs. NE scored 14 in the former (only one offensive TD) and 30 in the latter. This year, with minimal practice for either Stallworth or Moss, NE destroyed the Jets and only punted one time - after a dropped 1st down by Welker. They have only gotten better since then.

    I will make a sig bet with anyone that wants to take it that NE will put at least 30 points up this week. I will also be willing to say "double or nothing" if that comes true that NE slaps a 40-spot on the board. This offense is unlike anything that Indy has seen in a long time. Contrasting against the teams that Indy has been facing this season is like playing upper tier college teams and then facing an average NFL offense. It is no fluke that NE really is on a historic pace right now. Sure you can point to some creampuffs on the schedule, but Washington came in with similar stats as Indy does and NE moved at will against them.

    Indy's defense plays the guessing game and they are typically successful, but they have never faced an offense as diverse as the one they will see. If there is anything on film that gives NE a heads up as to whether they are playing pass or selling out on the run, NE will have no trouble moving the ball.

    One thing that I do expect that might be a little different, is I expect Maroney to be a bigger part of this gameplan than they have used on the past. The one thing that still worries me a little about NE's D is the age of the ILBs. Because I do expect Indy to move the ball well, NE is going to have to give those guys a breather regularly. If running the ball forces Sanders into the box, all the better because this is not your 2006 NE offense.

    One thing to keep in mind is that in the past two games at Indy, NE jumped out to 31-10 and 21-3 leads and were let down by not having the personel to put the game away. While it is obviously on the defense to hold a 3 score advantage, both games were full of short NE drives in the 2nd half. Despite their great offense, NE still needs to play "keep away" to some extent.

    Cont.
  2. Oswlek

    Oswlek Rookie

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    Indy O / NE D

    Indy has faced a few good defenses, which should help them this week, but their offensive numbers in those games are lower than normal. TN held them to 22 and it was a garbage time score that allowed Indy to get off the 22 spot against Jax. Both of these teams were able to limit Indy despite having offenses that did very little for most of the game. Admittedly, Indy probably could have done more against Jax had they been so inclined. Also, it should be noted that both those games were on the road.

    Despite this, there is little reason to believe that Indy will have major problems moving the ball. With the exception of the two snow playoff games, NE has not held Indy below 24 points during recent times. In two games in Indy, the Colts have been comfortably in the 30s both times.

    What gives me hope here is that Indy has started slowly for much of this year, even against some poor defenses. Check out these first quarter point totals:

    7 - NO (scored with one minute left in the quarter)
    6 - TN
    0 - Denver
    7 - Jax (scored with 30 seconds left in the quarter)
    3 - Carolina

    Yes, I realize that 7 points isn't little, but the fact that it took a couple drives to get on the board is significant, IMHO. Indy will likely only be able to not score on 3-4 of their drives to still be in the game. In both of those games, Indy had two non-scoring drives in the 1st quarter alone.

    If Indy falls behind by more than 14 points at any point in the first half (which they will if two of their first three drives end without points) NE finally has the personel to actually hold the lead. In 2003 they had no running game and last year they had nothing once Dillon and Faulk left. Even if NE loses Maroney and Faulk in this game, the WRs are *so* much better than they put out their in either game, that it won't make as much of a difference.

    Regardless, Indy is a very dynamic offense and they are running the ball very, very well. NE will have to take up where they left off against Washington because a reappearance of the Clev/Dall/Miami D will lead to Indy running at will against them. I was very nervous about this prior to this past game, but it does seem that NE playing with leads in the nickle contributed greatly to the poor run D.

    cont.
  3. Oswlek

    Oswlek Rookie

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    Other factors:

    Just for fun, I'm going to reverse this one. Colt fans love to play the "everyone has injuries" game, so I'm going to list the Colt comparables that are going to be available for this game that missed at least 50% of the last one.

    Freeney - played hurt the whole game, missed about half.
    Mathis - played with severe back pain out of position at ILB
    Brock - missed almost all of the game
    Sanders - OUT
    Bethea - OUT
    Giordano - missed 2nd half
    Jennings - missed second half
    Bracket - played with a broken wrist, missed about 1/3 of the game

    Addai - missed second half
    Keith - missed 2nd half

    Be serious now, if NE just barely won a game in which they over came a hefty deficit against an Indy team missing those guys, would you really shrug it off with an "all teams battle injuries" type statement?

    Now, assume that you add Keiaho, Harrison, Wayne and Gonzalez to the list (as if they were also missing but are back now). Wouldn't you be pretty confident that, with 6-7 of your best 10 players back and assorted other role guys, you might play better than the last time?

    Indy is better than they were last time, significantly so in fact. Their running game has gone from "dependent on the pass and terrible in short situations" to "helps free up the pass and is possibly the best in the league in power situations". That is a wrinkle that NE has not had to face yet. In the past NE could gameplan to stop the pass and ignore the run, knowing that either Indy would give up on it, or that it would stall out anyway. No longer.

    By the same token, Indy has become almost reliant on the run to open the pass, as odd as that sounds. And Indy has been able to go into each game with the understanding that they had plenty of time to work into a groove. That is a luxury that they don't have in this game. Indy's defense just isn't going to stop NE enough, IMO to eventually suffocate the opponent and pull away at the end like they do against most teams.

    Whether Watson plays or not will have a big impact on this game as well. Ben is by far the best option out their as a 4th receiver in the spread, and he adds an extra dimension to the power set. Considering that at least one CB and safety are going to be allocated for Moss and at least one CB is on Stallworth, having both Welker and Watson on the field likely means single coverage by a LB. In either case, it is a huge mismatch.

    My prediction is that NE takes a lead relatively quickly and goes on to win 42-27. Thanks for your time, if you read this whole thing. :blahblah:
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2007
  4. ALP

    ALP Rookie

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    actually, gonna be 42-24...they wont kick that last FG cuz they know they would need a TD, and they wont complete the 4th down...
  5. Ochmed Jones

    Ochmed Jones Rookie

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    #12 Jersey

    I felt like last year, the offense got the lead and then sort of went into coast mode. This year's team is built to keep scoring deep into the second half.

    Key match up, can our LBers stop the underneath passes and defend the run adequately? That is a tough job for 60 minutes even for young legs.
  6. cblesz

    cblesz Rookie

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    Wow...very detailed and accurate. I have been saying all the pundits that say "New England hasn't faced, blah blah blah"...need to realize that the Colts have not faced an offense anywhere near New England's...
  7. true_patriot

    true_patriot Rookie

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    Great Work, Oswlek! Always enjoyed your analysis - pre-game and post-game.
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2007
  8. He Ban Me

    He Ban Me Banned

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    Oz, what were the stats on the Skins injured defensive players? I knew they were a little banged up going in, but wasn't sure how many were out, saw limited action, or got injured during the game? Also, I know you don't feel as though the Indy D has really been tested, what defensive teams HAVE been tested?? Our numbers are obviously compared with 31 other teams. What teams that are ranked in the Colts neighborhood (or lower) have DEFLATED numbers, or numbers that really could be better, had they played more mediocre competition. The Colts are best in NFL at not yielding the medium and long pass plays. They are the worst at the short stuff, which is pretty much by design. How did the Skins compare? Also, I think Maroney and Morris will be a bigger part of the game plan. Fred Taylor, Travis Henry, and some other RB's have been able to rip a few nice size runs, and I think BB will see if your guys can do the same. I know other fanbases say, "well, we're different". We are better than last season, for sure. But whether we can run with your O remains to be seen.
  9. psychoPat

    psychoPat Role Player PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Most instructive, Owl.

    Thanks for taking the time
    to explain your thoughts so thoroughly.
  10. patsox23

    patsox23 Rookie

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    Oz, thanks as always for good insight and a lot of work.

    This game reminds me a bit of the rematch with Pittsburgh in the AFC Championship Game in 2004. A lot of Pitt fans - including a guy who paid me $100 afterwards - continued to downplay or outright IGNORE that players we didn't have (or lost midstread) the first time (which, come to think of it, fell on THIS day, Halloween 2004). Those missing Patriots included:

    Dillon, Graham, Deion, Ty Law, Matt Light and, possibly, Wilfork. Perhaps others.

    I explained that we WOULD have all of those guys back (minus Ty Law) and that this would, at least on some level, change the dynamic of the game, which, of course, it did. In spades.

    We are absolutely going to CRUSH the colts. People don't understand how incredibly good this Patriots team is. I mean, they do, but they don't get how much better they are than EVERYONE, Indy included. That changes this week.

    48-24.
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2007
  11. Oswlek

    Oswlek Rookie

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    As far as I know, Washington was down their #2 CB. They may have been down another LB, but I can't imagine it was anyone of consequence because Skin fans would have let us know. Washington also plays a "take away the big play and force them to make several plays just for one score" type defense, one which a few Skins fans thought that NE might struggle with.

    NE attacked the D with Welker and Faulk, with even Maroney getting into the passing game a little. It all comes down to the OL. If Brady has time, someone will come open. Moreso than most teams, NE (and Indy, for that matter) will kill with time. There are very few coverage sacks against NE.

    To extend on that, NE's offense, IMHO is a little more diverse than Indy's in that their WRs all have different strengths. Indy, by comparison, seems to like to have interchangable WRs. Both teams have good receiving TEs (Clark is better blocking than Watson, but NE has K. Brady for that) and both have receiving threats out of the backfield. Indy does have the edge here because their main guy is both the runner and the receiver, while NE the running back and the receiving back are different guys. But NE's WRs present matchup issues that I don't believe Indy even offers. By the same token, Indy would handle injuries better because guys are so similar.

    As far as who has been challenged, a lot of teams. I think that both Cleveland and Dallas have better offenses than anyone Indy has faced. I just don't believe that anyone Indy faced is diverse enough to force them out of the "selling out" that I see them do. It just seems that most teams Indy has faced have been entirely predictible, and Indy's speed can stop any one thing, just not several things at the same time.
  12. Skree

    Skree Rookie

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    Pats D has faced 4 top ten offenses...

    #2 Dallas Offense - gave up 27 points (7 of that was a defensive score)
    #4 Browns Offense - gave up 17 points
    #6 Bengals Offense - gave up 13 points
    #8 Chargers Offense - gave up 14 points

    and then...
    #13 Miami - gave up 28 (7 of that was a defensive score)
    #22 Redskins - gave up 7
    # 26 Jets - gave up 14
    #29 Bills - gave up 7



    Indy has faced one top ten offense...

    #10 Houston - gave up 24

    and also...
    #14 Tenn - gave up 20
    #18 NO - gave up 10
    #19 Jax - gave up 7
    #21 Carolina - gave up 7
    #23 TB - gave up 14
    #27 Denver - gave up 20
  13. Oswlek

    Oswlek Rookie

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    1010101010
  14. He Ban Me

    He Ban Me Banned

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    I thought the Skins were missing (or lost) 2-3 key defenders. So, you don't know how they stacked up in terms of where they fall with giving up the big(ger) pass plays?

    On defenses, you stated Indy's stats are not truely reflective, because you feel they have played lesser competition, so the question was, which of the other 31 teams do you feel HAVE been tested to date, and ARE strong defenses?? Not saying I agree or disagree, just trying to get a measuring stick.

    On the other hand, not sure that you are willing to admit that the NE team has not really faced very good defenses. I understand Skins and Boys. How good are they really? Cowboy fan seems to think their coverage sucks. What are your thoughts?

    Finally, I really think the 2 games in 6 days on the road against two pretty stout defenses is not getting much respect. 60-14 was the final on those. I understand the Jags lost Gerrard, he got injured early in the second, continued to play, and was out for good in the 2nd half, yet, because they decided to run, they finally scored, IN the second half. I am not isolating O versus D here, just the 2 games 6 days, on the road, versus stout D's. Sunday, it may not mean squat, but I think it deserves as much recognition as 52 points at home against a 2nd year QB, a washed up RB, and a dinged up D.
  15. Skree

    Skree Rookie

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    Excellent additions - thank you
  16. Oswlek

    Oswlek Rookie

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    I can't answer your "who has played a *real* schedule" question because I don't feel like going through every schedule in the league. It is just my opinion, that a team that faced the opponents above (while those opponents were mssing several key guys) that just looking at points, yards, whatever isn't a perfect tool. I have no problem if you disagree. Frankly, even if Indy is what their stats say they are, I still find it hard to see them holding NE under 30 points.

    I admit that NE had not faced a good defense until Washington, but the Skins were ranked highly in most defensive categories themselves. Even if you say that the Skins were a fraud - which I have no problem with - whatever logic you use against them also could be used against Indy. And even if we agree that Indy is better, NE put up 45 points on those guys in 51 game minutes. How much better does Indy need to be in order to "only" allow 30 points?

    BTW, when I mentioned Cleveland and Dallas, I was talking about their offenses, not their defenses. My point being that even though NE and Indy's defensive stats are similar, NE has faced much more difficult offensive teams.

    I agree that Indy's offense has been damn impressive, but I just don't think that Gray or Vinny earn the Colt D that much respect.
  17. BadMoFo

    BadMoFo Rookie

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    It's only fair, but the Dolphins were missing Trent Green, the Bills were missing JP Losman mostly the entire game and the Bengals were missing Rudi Johnson.
  18. Oswlek

    Oswlek Rookie

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    Feel free to add Cleveland's RB as well.

    That said, I think we can all agree that the drop form Garrard/Delhomme to Gray/Vinny is quite a bit more larger than Losman/Green to Edwards/Lemon. If anything, the second group is better.
  19. Deus Irae

    Deus Irae PatsFans.com Retired Jersey Club PatsFans.com Supporter

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    The Colts are a small defense. This requires them to match up with more bodies than their opponents at the point of attack. The reason this has been successful to date is that they have played teams that are a) relatively easy to gameplan for (Bucs, Titans) and/or b) falling behind early and becoming one dimensional. This allows the Colts to keep selling out and hides their glaring weaknesses:

    1.) Sanders is a player who has to sell out almost 100% of the time to be effective.

    2.) Cato June has been replaced by someone who tackles better but doesn't cover nearly as well.

    3.) The team's DL is pretty woeful against the run and needs lots of help.


    This works fine against a running team like the Buccaneers, especially when the team's top 2 rb's are hurt, but New England's offense has exposed them repeatedly in the past (and is now even better). If Sanders crowds the line, Brady will simply loft it to Moss for 30+ yards. If Sanders stays back, the Patriots will either run for big gains or pass short to Welker/Falk/Watson.

    The Patriots are #2 in the league in terms of time of possession, I believe. That will help them to wear down the Colts defense and leave it exposed to fatigue and fatigue based injuries (Tweaked hammy, cramp, etc...)

    Frankly, I see New England doing enough damage to the Colts that the Colts will be very hard pressed to beat the Chargers in the following game. This could very well be one win that's worth 2.5-3 games in the HFA battle. Anything's possible, but I find it telling that I can picture a close game going to New England, a close game going to Indy and a blowout going to New England, but I can't picture Indy blowing out the Patriots barring disastrous injury scenarios.
  20. Deus Irae

    Deus Irae PatsFans.com Retired Jersey Club PatsFans.com Supporter

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    In every case you're pointing to here, the replacement's been better than the starter this season.
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