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Indianapolis Colts vs. New Orleans Saints 8/23/14 NFL Pick, Odds, Prediction

New Orleans Saints (2-0 preseason) at Indianapolis Colts (0-2 preseason)
Date & Time Saturday August 23, 2014, 8:00 PM (EDT)
The Line
The Line: Indianapolis Colts -1 -- Over/Under: 46
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NFL | New Orleans Saints (2-0 preseason) at Indianapolis Colts (0-2 preseason)

The Indianapolis Colts host the New Orleans Saints in a Week 3 NFL Preseason game on CBS on Saturday night.

The New Orleans Saints have opened the preseason 2-0 with wins over the Titans and Rams.  Drew Brees has actually yet to take a snap in preseason action as the coaching staff has been cautious with the elite QB after Brees sustained an oblique injury at the beginning of August.  Brees figures to see some time against the Colts though after returning to practice this past Sunday.

The Saints have managed to get the job done in the early going with a set of backup QB’s that includes 2nd year former Tulane QB Ryan Griffin and journeyman Luke McCown, each of whom have had success getting the ball to the Saints deep rotation of pass catchers.  Star receiver Marques Colston has yet to play but is expected to suit up in week three, while prized TE Jimmy Graham has caught seven total passes including two touchdowns to start the exhibition season.   Mark Ingram has seen a decent amount of work out of the backfield and figures to be utilized more heavily this season with the departure of safety valve Darren Sproles.

Head coach Sean Payton has been extremely successful in week three of the preseason, with a 7-1 mark. 

The Indianapolis Colts haven’t kicked off their exhibition season very strong, losing both contests to the Jets and Giants.  Both losses came in the 4th quarter though, so the Colts likely won’t be deflated about either one.  Quarterback Andrew Luck saw extensive work in last week’s matchup against the Giants, completing 12/18 passes for 89 yards and 1 TD.   At the backup QB position the Colts are using veteran Matt Hasslebeck and Chandler Harnish.  Hasslebeck has been reasonably effective but Harnish has struggled and quite probably won’t see action in this game until late in the fourth quarter.

The Colts offense is averaging just 2.39 yards per carry on the ground thus far in the preseason, putting a lot of the burden to score in the hands of Andrew Luck.  The Colts have brought in Hakeem Nicks to complement last year’s star wideout TY Hilton and Andrew Luck’s former Stanford teammate Colby Fleener should be further developed as well coming into this season. 

The Colts head coach Chuck Pagano only has two seasons of preseason action under his belt and has gone 1-1 in week three contests thus far.

Sean Payton has shown a strong willingness to win week three preseason games but part of that comes down to Drew Brees seeing extended work which is far from certain in this instance.  I’ll back the home team Colts to get a morale-boosting win here after folding late in their first two exhibition games.  

Indianapolis Colts -1 (1 unit)

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