Indianapolis Colts Offense: Analyzing Patriots’ Week 6 Test

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Oct 8, 2015; Houston, TX, USA; Indianapolis Colts receiver Donte Moncrief (10) signals for a first down after a reception during the game against the Houston Texans at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Donte Moncrief, Wide Receiver

Second-year wideout and Ole Miss alum Donte Moncrief is already on pace to break his reception totals from last year…by the end of October.  After hauling in 32 passes and 3 touchdowns last year, Donte’s already snagged 24 passes this year and matched his 3 touchdowns from last year.  It’s safe to say the kid has found his niche in the Colts offense.

Moncrief was pretty much invisible against Houston last week, but in every other game this year, he’s been pretty consistent, catching 4-7 passes each game.  With his longest reception on the year at 30 yards, Andrew Luck playing could be the best indicator that Moncrief is probably going to try to pick up right where he left off in Week 4.

Of course, part of the increase in production has come while T.Y. Hilton recovered from his knee injury.  With both of them on the field, Moncrief pretty much automatically defaults back to his old assignments.

Who Can Stop Him?

The Patriots are already perilously thin at cornerback, with only five on the current roster – Malcolm Butler, Logan Ryan, Tarell Brown, Justin Coleman, and Brandon King.  While the number two cornerback spot seems to change every week, Tarell Brown was reportedly limited in practice on Wednesday, so it’d be logical to assume that Logan Ryan would start at corner unless something changes.

Truthfully, though, with the Patriots playing more nickel defense in a 4-2-5 formation than anything else, they’re usually operating with either three cornerbacks or three safeties on the field, depending on what offense takes the field.  ESPN’s Mike Reiss notes that when Pittsburgh played a three-receiver package, New England typically sent out four linemen, two linebackers, three corners, and two safeties.

Bottom line: the Colts have 192 passing attempts on the season, compared to 118 rushing attempts.  Expect to see that nickel on the field a whole lot on Sunday night.

Next: Next Up: The Gruesome Twosome