Tale Of The Tape: Indianapolis Colts At New York Giants
- QuarterbackThe Colts are going to have to shake off last week’s pounding at Pittsburgh, and that’s going to be one more test for Andrew Luck. The third-year quarterback is going to have to demonstrate his leadership and not let his teammates get stuck in the doldrums. Luck is a remarkable player who can throw with accuracy, velocity and excellent timing. He should have no trouble leading the Colts out of the depths.The Giants had a brief three-game surge before they hooked up with division rivals Philadelphia and Dallas and came up short in both games. However, Eli Manning is once again throwing with confidence, and if he can attack the Indianapolis defense with a couple of big plays early, he could have a big night. Manning knows that the Giants need a huge game, and he should be ready.
- OffenseLook for a big effort here from running back Ahmad Bradshaw, who played a key role in the Giants’ backfield for several years. His quickness and ability to change directions could cause problems. T.Y. Hilton has the kind of explosive speed to wreak havoc on the New York secondary. Reggie Wayne (elbow) is reportedly making quick progress and he could be back for this game.The Giants would like to attack the Indianapolis defense with rookie running back Andre Williams, who has quickness and decisive running skills. The Giants need wide receivers Rueben Randle and Odell Beckham to step up and make big plays since Victor Cruz (torn patellar tendon) is out for the season. Tight end Larry Donnell can be a solid red zone weapon since he has caught four TD passes.
- DefenseHead coach Chuck Pagano wants the Colts to put last week’s 51-34 loss out of their minds. Prior to that debacle, the Colts had played decent defense this year. Inside linebacker D’Qwell Jackson has had an excellent year as he leads the Colts with 65 tackles and he also has 3.0 sacks, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery. Outside linebacker Bjoern Werner leads the Colts with 4.0 sacks.The Giants have been living on the edge defensively and they are going to have to be at their best or Luck will tear them up. The Giants rank 27th in yards allowed and 25th against the pass. Cornerback Prince Amukamara has been playing hard and he has enjoyed an excellent year with 42 tackles, 14 passes defensed and three interceptions. Jason Pierre-Paul has 3.5 sacks, but the Giants need more.
- Special TeamsThe Colts do an outstanding job of punt and kickoff coverage, and they rarely give up long returns. They would probably like Griff Whalen to give them a bit more than 7.1 yards per punt return, but he does not drop the ball. Adam Vinatieri is still an excellent kicker.The Giants have had issues with their punt coverage teams, and that’s an issue because they can’t afford to give anything away with their special teams. Josh Brown has not missed any of his FG attempts, but he has only tried seven times this season. Punter Steve Weatherford has a strong leg.
The Colts are the stronger team, but the Giants have had an extra week to prepare and they need to come up with a huge game. If the Giants don’t let the Colts grab an early lead and stretch it out, this game should go down to the wire. -Steve Silverman, CBS Local Sports