Any homer can give you a handful of reasons their team is destined for a win in their upcoming game, right? It is what you’ve come to expect from opposing writers, especially those who are also fans of the team about which they write.
I’m not here to give you optimistic musings, I’m here to get real with you. This Colts team is in trouble Sunday, and here are 3 reasons why.
The Passing Game
When Andrew Luck was under center, the most deadly part of the Colts’ offense was their ability to move the ball deftly through the air. Luck was accurate and had incredible pocket presence. The connection between T.Y. Hilton an Andrew Luck was a backbreaker for many a defense. Add in Jack Doyle and Eric Ebron and you had a truly tough group of pass catchers to deal with.
With Jacoby Brissett at QB, the Colts haven’t been as prolific in the passing game. That has been okay for them, because when they played Phillip Rivers, they benefited from Marlon Mack rushing for a career high 174 yards. Unfortunately special teams miscues cost then that game, and the passing game was a relative non-factor.
Facing Matt Ryan and his stable of receivers is going to be taxing on the Colts defense, and they will have to be able to move the ball in the air if they hope to keep up. So far, that hasn’t been easy for them between the 20s, and it is likely that this game depends on it being better than it has been.
The Colts have one of the best offensive lines in football. They are superb at run blocking, and they have done a nice job at protecting Jacoby Brissett so far this year. Except for one guy. Right guard Mark Glowinski has been used as a turnstile for much of the early season, and was personally responsible for two of their sacks given up last week.
Glowinski has a solid 2018, but seems to be coming back down to earth in 2019. Defenses have been teeing off on his struggles and running stunts and twists to abuse him. If he plays like he has so far, Brissett could be running for his life early and often.
Hopefully the Falcons just don’t have any super talented interior defensive linemen. Right? Gulp.
The Colts defense is going to be tested to the extreme by Matt Ryan and the Falcons offense. They were going to be a tough matchup with everyone at their best. That’s why the losses of several key defensive players hurts badly.
At this point, All-Pro linebacker Darius Leonard is in concussion protocol. Their best cornerback, Pierre Desir, the guy who put the clamps on DeAndre Hopkins in the playoffs, is questionable with a knee injury. Yikes.
Add to that the continued absence of one of their best defensive linemen, Jabaal Sheard, and the Colts defense is in a tough spot. They are a deep team, and the guys backing up these starters are talented, but they’re also really young.
A quarterback of Matt Ryan’s caliber is completely capable of making these inexperienced young guys dance like puppets while he slashes his way down the field. Without those key guys, this could be a tough day for the Colts defense.