Why to watch? Why to watch? It's opening night, baby! The only reason not to watch this game is if you can't stand big plays and lots of scoring. The first team to 50 wins? Could be. Two phenomenal quarterbacks. Two lethal offenses. Reggie Bush is worth the price of admission by himself, but Joseph Addai and Deuce McAllister are sure to provide some fireworks as well.
Then there are the receivers, who should torture cornerbacks all night long. There is a lot of things to like about this game. Both teams have their key players back and have their sites set on the Lombardi Trophy.
Bush gets most of the headlines, but McAllister makes this offense go. He is a physical runner who is quick to get his pads squared to the line of scrimmage and get positive yardage. He runs behind a very solid offensive line that has a clear advantage over Indianapolis' weak defensive front.
The Colts defense was historically awful stopping the run last year and did very little to improve this offseason. They will more than have their hands full on Thursday night.
While McAllister is the thunder, Bush is the lightning. Both players are capable of beating a defense on the outside or between the tackles and they will spend a large number of snaps on the field together. As a duel tandem, they can be very dangerous.
Having both on the field will make the Colts' defensive coordinator Ron Meeks decide whether to go with their base defense or the nickel package. Against base, Bush will move to wide receiver and probably be matched up against a linebacker. Against the nickel, New Orleans would be able to pound McAllister against a smaller unit. The Colts' defensive line often plays the run on their way to the quarterback, so delays and draws can be very effective.
Indianapolis' defense is also very susceptible against play-action and the combination of McAllister and Bush will accentuate this weakness. The Colts often use a Cover-3 shell with SS Bob Sanders in the box as an extra run defender, but this is a risky proposition against Drew Brees, who could shred the Colts in the passing game.
Brees picked up in the preseason where he left off last year. His accuracy is simply fantastic and he is a great deep passer. Without question, he is the most important player on this team. With all the great players in New Orleans' offense last year, it went somewhat unnoticed just how good of a season Devery Henderson had.
Always a speedster, Henderson made great strides in becoming an excellent all-around wide receiver. He is a perfect complement to Marques Colston, who isn't nearly as fast. Henderson can stretch a defense as well as any receiver in the league. His presence will open up a lot of room in the intermediate zones for Colston, who combines very sticky hands with exceptional body control and size.
Indianapolis had a particularly difficult time with their opponents' No. 1 receiver last year and that shouldn't change, although this group of Saints receivers is extremely young. New Orleans coach Sean Payton loves to use empty sets and this formation will help create matchups against the Colts' sub-standard defensive personnel. To combat the Saints' devastating deep passing game, the Colts will often play their traditional Tampa-2 coverage, keeping their safeties deep to help eliminate big plays.