1 - Pressure Deshone Kizer early and often
Kizer is a young, inexperienced quarterback who has made his fair share of mistakes in his first two NFL starts. The Colts did a good job of pressuring Carson Palmer but the Colts will face a tougher offensive line this week, so they’ll need to be creative about bringing pressure.
Against the Steelers, Kizer struggled to decipher blitzes and made some poor errors throughout the game. The Colts need to bring the heat against Kizer early on so that they can rattle him and affect his confidence.
Jabaal Sheard and John Simon should see a lot of playing time as they were the two most effective pass rushers against the Cardinals. Dialing up blitzes from everywhere (nickel cornerbacks, inside linebackers, etc) will also be important in this game.
The Colts need to force Kizer to throw a perfect pass in order to beat a well designed blitz. Throw the kitchen sink at him and see how he reacts.
2 - Win the turnover battle
This may seem like an obvious key for the Colts, but turnovers are what have killed Indianapolis in the first two games.
Against the Rams, the Colts had two pick sixes and a fumble. All three turnovers were massive momentum killers and sucked all the life out of the team. Against the Cardinals, the interception in overtime killed the Colts chances of winning.
The Colts need to avoid turnovers and be able to force a turnover or two in order to win the game. If they can effectively bring the heat, that will force Kizer into some bad decisions and the Colts need to make him pay for those bad decisions.
3 - Give Jacoby Brissett time in the pocket
Brissett was sacked 4 times last week and was pressured often. He was at his best early in the game when he had a clean pocket to work with. The 3rd down pass to Doyle on his first drive tells you a lot about the type of player Brissett is when given time. If given a clean pocket and time to make his reads, he can step up and deliver a strike.
The Colts should not be afraid to use 6 or even 7 players to block against the Browns. The Browns are an aggressive defense led by Gregg Williams, so expect to see a lot of a 1 or 2 man blitzes, meaning there will be many plays where there are 6 or 7 players rushing the quarterback. If the Browns are able to consistently pressure Brissett, the Colts offense will be in big trouble. If the Colts can protect him, then they’ll get some nice matchups in the secondary that can be exploited.