Sure, the Colts looked bad in Week 1, but the good thing is that the Vikings didn’t look like a contender against Green Bay. I know some of the Colts “fans” are ready to jump off of the bandwagon, and I say good riddance. Make more room for us loyal fans who know that this team is a contender. If we want to look like the championship team we can be, these five things need to happen.
1. Stop The Run: Ed “Pineapple Express” Johnson toked his Colts career away, but that doesn’t mean that Adrian Peterson is going to run all over us. However, the current defensive tackles will have to step up if we are to win this game. Our defensive tackles are Raheem Brock, Keyunta Dawson, Eric Foster, Daniel Muir, Darrell Reid, and recent signee LaJuan Ramsey. None of these guys are Pro Bowl contenders, but they can do enough to keep Adrian Peterson from getting big chunks of yards.
Daniel Muir and LaJuan Ramsey are the only players that are as big as Ed Johnson, but we don’t need fatties to stop the run. Eric Foster, Raheem Brock, and Keyunta Dawson all are extremely fast for defensive tackles. If they can get a quick burst off of the line of scrimmage, their size won’t matter because they will already be passed the bigger offensive linemen. Adrian Peterson is the best all-around back in the league. I’ve seen him break sure tackles, get to the outside in a split second, and he can go through the middle and break it for a touchdown. However, in some videos that I have seen, he has been run down by defenders. He also seems to get most of his big carries off of outside runs. Both of these are good news for a team with the fastest defense in the league. Very rarely does a speed back have huge games against the Colts. It is normally a bigger running back like LenDale White, Maurice Jones-Drew, Michael Turner and Travis Henry that tear apart the Colts on a consistent basis. There are some exceptions like Darren Sproles, but the Colts have a nice history of shutting down speed backs.
The Colts will also have to watch out for passes to Peterson out of the backfield. We have struggled with that for a long time.
2. Establish the offense early: We can’t keep this a low scoring game. Sooner or later they will score. The Colts need to get points on their first posession, preferrably a touchdown. The Colts need to turn this game into a shootout. Do you really think that Tavaris Jackson could keep up with Peyton Manning if this turns into an offensive game? He can’t.
3. Pressure Jackson: That was something that we needed to do against the Bears, but the pressure didn’t come, and we couldn’t get our offense back on the field. Jackson is an inexperienced QB who can make mistakes if we can get him out of the pocket. Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis will have to step up in a huge way if we are to keep the Vikings offense from moving down the field. The Vikings don’t have the best pass blocking offensive line, and left tackle Bryant McKinnie is suspended. We have the potential to make this game a living hell for Tavaris Jackson. Hopefully we can make him go back to Montgomery crying.
4. We Need A Running Game!: We won’t win if Addai does nothing. Since the Patriots game last year, I have been losing confidence in Addai. He has done nothing in 10 games now. If for some reason he sucks again, then Rhodes will have to step up. I would really like to see Mike Hart get some carries when the game matters. We’ve seen what he can do in the preseason. He could be the X-factor in this game.
5. Special Teams: This may be the first time in Colts history that we may have the advantage on special teams. Last week, the Vikings had the second worst VOA for special teams. They had no return game at all on either punts or kicks, and to top it off, they gave up a punt return for a touchdown. Now that Courtney Roby has been cut and Pierre Garcon and Justin Forsett are the returners, we won’t fumble the kickoff returns and get no yardage. If we can keep them from crossing the 30 on their kickoff returns and get past the 30 every time on our returns, we will win this game. Field position is everything, and it very easily could decide this game.