Giants (5-9) vs Colts (8-6)
Last Sunday the Indianapolis Colts came up with an impressive shutout win over
the Cowboys. They ended the Cowboys five game wining streak, and left town with
a 23-0 victory.
On Sunday the Giants' fans were hit with a bad weather day.
That, coupled with some poor play by their home team, resulted in a 17-0 loss
to the visiting Tennessee Titans.
- Titans Wrap-Up
The Colts have been out of the playoffs
the past three years, going 8-8, 8-8, and then 4-12 to finish last in their division.
It didn't help that quarterback Andrew Luck missed the entire 2017 season after
undergoing shoulder surgery. Things did not go well for them at the start of this
season, and after six games, the Colts were a 1-5 team. They have gone on to win
the last seven of eight games, which now has them at 8-6.
They are tied in
the division with the Tennessee Titans, and both teams trail the 10-4 Houston
Texans, who could take the division title with a win in Philadelphia over the
Eagles on Sunday or the following week at home against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Looking at wildcard spots, the Titans play at home in their last two games, first
with the Washington Redskins, then go at it head to head with the Colts.
offensive line is doing what it should for quarterback Andrew Luck. They have
allowed only 16 sacks, which ties them with the New Orleans Saints for the lowest
amount in the NFL. The Colts were missing center Ryan Kelly for three games, and
before he went out, they had gone five straight games without allowing a sack.
Last week with Kelly back, Marlon Mack credited the offensive line for allowing
him to do the most damage, running over the Cowboys for a career high 139 yards
and two touchdowns.
Wide receiver T.Y. Hilton leads the Colts with his 67 receptions
for 1,071 yards. Hilton is dealing with an ankle injury, but he managed to play
last week even without practicing. Hilton said that he aggravated the ankle during
the game, and he's listed as questionable after missing practices again this week.
Tight end Eric Ebron is the second leading receiver, and he leads all tight ends
in the league with his 12 touchdown catches.
They're probably feeling pretty
good after shutting out the Cowboys last week, and now they'll be playing a team
that was just shut out by the Titans, a team in their same division. The Colts
know the Titans defense very well, and that makes it just a bit easier to evaluate
how they handled the Giants. The weather certainly played a factor for the Giants
failures, but last Sunday they didn't even reach the red zone until the end of
the game. Giants fans can hope that the Colts will be taking them lightly, looking
past this game to a very important one the following week with the Titans.
defenses know by now that their first priority will be stopping Saquon Barkley,
who had been averaging 121 yards since the bye week, up until last weeks poor
performance. The Colts have allowed 91 running back receptions this season, and
Barkley can get things done that way as well. Rookie linebacker Darius Leonard
has shown that he is good at stopping both the run and the pass. He's second on
the team with 7 sacks, and leads the NFL in tackles with 146. Defensive end Denico
Autry is the team leader with 9 sacks.
They managed fine in their game
against Washington playing without Odell Beckham Jr. who was dealing with a quadriceps
injury. They failed miserably last week when he still couldn't play. Now the Giants
have ruled out Beckham for a third straight game, and it's possible the hometown
fans my not get to see him in the final game of the season with the Cowboys. Defenses
put a lot of attention on Beckham, and in the three games leading up to his injury,
he'd been targeted less than only one other game this season. Sterling Shepard
is the second leading receiver on the team, but without the 'Beckham distraction
factor' going for him, over the last two games, Shepard's caught only 4 of the
15 passes thrown his way.
You could say that the rain and wind played a big
part in hindering the passing game last week. Eli Manning didn't do well, and
there were six dropped passes by his receivers. The offensive line was subpar
with their blocking for Manning, and running back Saquon Barkley. Barkley ran
for only 31 yards on 14 carries, which included one long 17-yarder. This week
the offensive line will be without injured center Spencer Pulley, and wide receiver
Russell Shepard is out as well.
Last week the defense was overwhelmed
by the Titans offensive line, and by Derrick Henry, who rushed 33 times for 170
yards and two touchdowns. Overall, the Titans gained a total of 216 yards on the
ground. The Giants run defense has suffered since they traded Damon Harrison to
Detroit for a fifth-round pick, and that weakness certainly became apparent. Defensive
coordinator James Bettcher said that 'Overall, we need to tackle better. A hundred
yards rushing in last week’s game came after missed tackles.' The players will
have to heed that 'advice' to contain Marlon Mack.
The passing defense wasn't
challenged last week, as the Titans were content using Henry to do the damage,
but this week instead of quarterback Marcus Mariota, it will be Andrew Luck. Surprisingly,
Luck threw no touchdown passes in his teams 23-0 shutout over the Cowboys, but
he kept the ball moving, and the Colts punted on only one of eight drives. The
Giants still struggle at rushing the passer, and they'll now have to deal with
the best offense in the NFL on third down plays.
You know anything can happen in these football games. Just two games ago, the
Jacksonville Jaguars managed to beat the Colts 6-0. The Jaguars had lost seven
in a row up to that point, and the Colts were on a five game winning streak. The
Colts are hoping that the Titans and the Ravens are on Santa's naughty list and
receive coal in their two individual games played on Saturday.
for the Steelers, playing after this game the Colts have with the Giants. Up until
last week the Giants looked like they were putting things together. If it was
just a misstep, then they could give the Colts maybe more than they will be expecting,
especially if their thoughts stray to the upcoming game with the Titans in Tennessee.
NFC East Games
Saturday at 4:30pm Redskins (7-7) at Titans (8-6).
at 1:00pm Giants (5-9) at Colts (8-6).
Sunday at 1:00pm Bucs (5-9) at Cowboys
Sunday at 1:00pm Texans (10-4) at Eagles (7-7).
The Cowboys and
Eagles are the only NFC East teams favored to win in these games.
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have averaged 21.6 points per game in 16 games with Beckham, 14.8 in 14 games
Giants Eli Manning completed
only 47.7 percent of his passes last week.
Giants Saquon Barkley's 56 yards from scrimmage last week was his lowest total
of the season.
Dec 30 Cowboys at Giants.
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