Each week during the season we’ll talk with the FanSided editor who covers the Colts’ upcoming opponent and try to get a better understanding of the enemy before us. This time around, we’re dropping a little lagniappe, our Trojan Horse, in the shopping bag of the New Orleans Saints as we talk to Keith Null of “Who Dat Dish.”
1) The Saints lost to the Bucs last weekend, and the two teams are now tied for the division lead. Have the Buccaneers finally gotten over the hump with New Orleans, or do you thing the Saints can still emerge as NFC South champs?
"Tip of the cap to the Bucs, who had a good game plan for Brees and the Saints last Sunday. However Tampa is still an average team all the way around and I don’t expect them to challenge New Orleans for the division crown this season. While the Saints played poorly last week, they should right the ship and easily blow through both the Colts and Rams before hosting Tampa at the Mercedes Benz Superdome — winning the rematch, and keeping their South title hopes, alive and kicking."
2) Which Saints players have surprised you the most (good or bad) so far this season?
"Tight end Jimmy Graham and running back Darren Sproles have really captivated coaches with their ability. In Graham’s case everyone thought his season would be good, not great, after his hot streak to end the 2010 year. He has developed into a heck of a weapon for Drew Brees over recent weeks. Should their connection continue against the Colts, Graham has a chance to re-write the history books and top tight end Tony Gonzalez by recording his fifth consecutive 100-yard receiving game. Sproles on the other hand has fit in even better than the Saints ever hoped and the icing on the cake is he’s a better inside runner then they expected."
3) What key match-ups should we keep an eye on this week?
"When thinking of the Colts the first player that comes to mind is Peyton Manning — who the Saints won’t have to worry about this time as he recovers from neck surgery. The second player, or players, that come to mind are Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis. Realistically the biggest challenge for New Orleans will be containing these two potent pass rush experts and keeping them away from Drew Brees. The right side of the Saints offensive line is considered it’s weak spot due to the fact the teams is starting a second-year unproven talent at right tackle in Charles Brown because of injury. Largely Brown will be tasked with slowing Mathis, and his performance will have a definitive impact on the outcome of the contest."
4) Obviously, the Colts have completely tanked without Peyton Manning, and folks around here are starting to rethink how we view Colts management. How do you think the Saints would fare if Drew Brees suddenly disappeared?
"I hate to to take a swing at the Colts, but without Brees the Saints would fare much better then Indianapolis are currently without Manning. The reasons are simple — Curtis Painter doesn’t have much upside — where the Saints backup quarterback Chase Daniel has revealed himself to be quite the opposite with tremendous upside."
5) Finally, what are your predictions for the game?
"As is always the case, I never make predictions because I am very superstitous. What I will say is I think the Saints will play much better than last week and once again display why they are one of the NFC’s most elite squads."