Jeff Saturday's greatest asset is his mind. He has an excellent feel for the game and plays smart; you have to be when Peyton Manning is your quarterback.
Jeff handles all of Peyton Manning's pre-snap adjustments at the line with precision, and quickly gets his offensive line mates in their proper blocking schemes. He shows solid snap-to-set quickness, excellent vision and awareness -- especially in pass protection. He is also patient and effective against double moves when pass protecting.
In the running game, he takes sound angles and when left uncovered will use his quickness to get up and through to the second level to hit linebackers. And while not a physical mauler, he does play with balance and body control. So it is hard for even the top defensive tackles to completely dominate Saturday.
The Rams' Ryan Pickett is a very powerful tackle who is quick off the line and is able to penetrate and disrupt. When playing at his highest level, he will constantly eat up space and require the attention of two interior linemen.
He shows good hand punch, maintains position against the inside rush well, and is very effective at pushing the pocket. You've got to watch him carefully in space because of his explosive short burst and ability to flush the quarterback out of the box.
But he gets too high too often, and as a result blockers can easily position themselves under his pads. This greatly hinders his push-the-pocket ability. He still does not diagnose plays well and has problems with multiple blocking situations.
Physically, Pickett will give Saturday all he can handle. However, he does have a tendency to wear down. Pickett should be helped by the fact that the Rams are now employing more of a DT rotation between Pickett, Jimmy Kennedy and Damione Lewis.
A key for the Colts is whether or not Saturday is able to hold his ground against Pickett without help from either of the guards. If so, that will allow them more freedom to get upfield or to pick up blitzing inside linebackers and safeties -- which is important because St. Louis will blitz.
Key Matchup: Jeff Saturday vs Ryan Pickett
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