Healthy head coach or not, the Saints will defeat the miserable Colts in prime time. However, I do believe Sean Payton's injury impacted the team in Week 6, as they dropped a division game to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Though the Saints have a renowned coaching staff, the sideline certainly seemed to be in disarray with Payton hurting.
Young phenom tight end Jimmy Graham rolled into his coach's leg, breaking his fibula and tearing the ACL. Payton underwent surgery, and he will coach from the press box for the Saints' Sunday Night Football matchup with the Colts. This should only be a minor wrinkle in the team's normal process.
One big difference in this one is preparation. The Saints' coaching staff have prepared all week knowing Payton will be limited. This is a luxury they weren't given last week when the accident occurred. The only other time I can ever remember seeing a coach get that badly injured on the sideline was Joe Paterno. But that almost doesn't count since Joe Pa is about 274 years old.
The Saints are better than the Colts in every aspect of the game. It is hard to grasp that these two teams played in the Super Bowl just two years ago. It is even harder to believe that the absence of one impact player has dropped the Colts this far from respectability.
Without Peyton Manning, this matchup has lost its appeal and likely its competitiveness.