Atlanta Falcons: Which Colts players should Falcons be prepared for?

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Oct 18, 2015; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Indianapolis Colts head coach Chuck Pagano in the first half during the NFL game against the New England Patriots at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Chuck Pagano has received a lot of criticism, particularly after his questionable fake punt against New England. What’s your take?

ER: The fake punt was designed to get the Pats to commit a penalty or burn a timeout. They’re too disciplined for either. The center on that play, Clayton Geathers, was injured earlier in the game, and the backup center, Griff Whalen, didn’t know the audible (because he was a punt returner). So it was mostly just bad communication on a number of levels.

Pagano’s teams generally seem to have the same flaws every season. At times, they struggle to show up to games and generally get off to slow starts. They got away with it in past years due to brilliance from Luck, but it wasn’t sustainable as we’ve seen this year. He is an average coach, his players love him and never quit in a game, but he also clings to antiquated philosophies about the game (mostly, an overemphasis on running the ball). I wouldn’t be surprised if team owner Jim Irsay cleans house this offseason, but he could also chalk this season up to injuries and give Pagano and others one more year.

What’s your prediction for the game?

ER: It is tough to say with both of these teams struggling over the past four games. Luck may have struggled this season, but he looked very good against the best defense in the NFL in their last outing. Hasselbeck is certainly capable of leading the team to a win as well.

That said, the Colts are likely to be without three starters on defense this week and are on the road. I’d give the edge to the Falcons.