(3-4) vs Colts (5-3)
The Colts five game
win streak came to a sudden end in Pittsburgh last Sunday when their defense let
the Steelers score six touchdowns and their offense gave up a safety. The final
score was 51-34.
The Giants lost to the Eagles and then the Cowboys 31-21 before
heading into their bye week. During their break they did at least get to see both
of those leading division teams take losses.
Giants - Cowboys
It was a wild ride at the end of the
2013 season for the Colts. After beating the Chiefs 23-7 in Kansas City two weeks
earlier they were facing them at home in the wildcard game. The Chiefs were really
putting points on the board and held a commanding 38-10 lead over the Colts in
the third quarter. Then hometown boos turned to cheers as Andrew Luck staged the
2nd-largest playoff comeback in NFL history with a 45-44 win. The Colts ran out
of luck (couldn't resist saying that) in the divisional playoff game in New England
when they fell to the Patriots 43-22.
Giving up 87 points in those last two
playoff games revealed some weaknesses they set out to fix this season. Things
had been mostly in hand up until last week's loss where they gave up the most
completions (40), the most touchdown passes (6), and the most passing yards in
franchise history (522). Will the Colts get to the playoffs? Assuming that was
just one bad showing, and considering that they were the only team to crack eight
or more wins in their division last year, only the Houston Texans (4-4) pose a
threat. The others are the Tennessee Titans (2-6) and Jacksonville Jaguars (1-7).
Aside from quarterback Andrew Luck,
whose performances have kept this team playoff ready, this offense has two other
players that we're sure you'll know. Ahmad Bradshaw came to the Colts last season,
but played in only three games because of an injury and Hakeem Nicks who signed
on this year. Neither player can offer much info to their new coaches about their
former team since the offensive scheme has changed and not all the current Giants
players seem fully sure what it is. Bradshaw is the Colts rusher with 371 yards
and he also has 31 receptions for 264 yards and 6 touchdowns. Trent Richardson,
who spits time with Bradshaw, missed last weekend's game against the Steelers
with a hamstring injury, but is slated to be back.
The Colts plan seems to
be keeping their dependable running backs healthy throughout the season by taking
less overall hits. With their effective passing attack, the worry of needing a
balanced offense is secondary and reflected in the fact that they have thrown
351 passes and rushed 231 times. That said, both running backs catch passes and
are averaging 8-9 yards a catch. Tight ends Dwayne Allen and Coby Fleener have
combined for 9 touchdown receptions and wide receiver T.Y. Hilton leads the league
with 866 receiving yards. Hilton is also right at the top with his 16.3 average
yards per catch. Veteran Reggie Wayne missed last game, but may be back for this
one. Nicks came off a poor year with the Giants and hasn't exactly starred in
this offense. Last week Nicks was targeted six times and came away with only one
What happened? They gave up a slew
of yards and touchdowns last week to Ben Roethlisberger and the Pittsburgh Steelers.
You actually have to call it a slew when the quarterback throws on you for over
five football fields worth of completions (522 yard) and 6 touchdowns. Roethlisberger
completed 40 passes and missed on only 9. You would figure that with so many passing
plays they didn't run the ball very much, but they managed to 'squeeze in' 32
runs averaging 3.7 yards a carry while making 34 first downs. While the Colts
defense is one of the top teams in sacks, they had none last week against a quarterback
who's been sacked 20 times so far this year. Roethlisberger could have been wearing
a tuxedo back there as they recorded just one lone quarterback hit in his 49 pass
Could this be a worn out defense in dire need of a bye week stuck
facing a refreshed Giants offense coming off theirs? Well, not so fast. The Steelers
got a real good jump on this defense in the first half and they played better
for a bit after that as the Colts offense tried to come back from behind. Also
they were without Vontae Davis, their top cornerback, for most of the game because
of a knee injury. During their five-game win streak they picked up 20 sacks, and
while Pittsburgh made 8-of-13 third down conversions, in the previous four games
they had held opponents to just 4-of-41.
The Giants saw how important it
was to get a fast jump on the Colts as the Steelers did last week. They also heard
in the bye week from their own General Manager Jerry Reese calling for the offense
to be more aggressive. Tom Coughlin said the offense needs more big plays, this
even though they have opted for a balanced run and a short-passing game that limits
turnovers. Offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo says he's looking for his offense
to be more 'explosive' and to have more plays (only 59 offensive snaps in each
of the last two losses).
Unfortunately the balance with a running game that
can extend drives has been gone since Rashad Jennings hasn't played. You have
to figure that they strapped Andre Williams to a chair in the film room these
past two weeks to review how Jennings made some of his magic happen behind this
same offensive line. Tight end Larry Donnell can help with improved blocking and
it's essential that he hangs onto the ball after a catch. Rueben Randle needs
to make some more plays down the field if for no other reason than to give talented
Odell Beckham Jr. more room to work. Preston Parker is the number three receiver.
It's not going to be easy up
front. The Colts offense ranks seventh in
the NFL with the fewest sacks allowed per pass attempt. Also you can't take your
eyes off Luck. Aside from trying to stop their two effective running backs he's
the team's third-leading rusher, with 124 yards and 2 touchdowns on 33 carries.
A good pass rush is needed against a big passing offense and second-year defensive
end Damontre Moore could have some opportunities, but he has to play smart. That
hasn't been his strong point to date and the coaches know it and it has limited
his chances. Moore is being used more as a situation pass rusher with Mathias
Kiwanuka being more reliable and better against the run. Jason Pierre-Paul did
well last game and once again is up against another top pass blocking left tackle.
The secondary may have some opportunities here. Luck has thrown 9 interceptions,
matching his total from all of last season, while the Giants are second in the
league with 11 interceptions. Cornerback Prince Amukamara is strong in run support
and has 3 interceptions, and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie has had time to rest
from his leg injuries. With his health issues and cornerbacks Walter Thurmond
and Trumaine McBride gone to season-ending injuries, they might use the three-safety
look more. Safety Stevie Brown was demoted from starter earlier in the year for
making some poor choices in coverage, but he played last game. If he plays as
well a he can ( 2012- eight interceptions, 2013-out ACL) he makes the secondary
that much stronger. Safety Antrel Rolle has 3 interceptions and a forced fumble
and can always be counted on.
the Giants put 30 points on the scoreboard? In their three wins they did that
and more. The Colts three losses actually happened when the other team did just
that to them. The Giants are coming off their bye week and it's given them a nice
chance to regroup, review, and game plan. What you hope not to see is Ahmad Bradshaw
on fire running like a mad man against the Giants to show how wrong they were
in letting him go, and Hakeem Nicks having the one game of his life. To win this
one the Giants will have to play at their absolute best while hoping that the
Colts, after playing eight games and now stuck with their second straight road
trip, will not be up to what they are usually capable of.
TeamGiants on Twitter.
The Giants play on Monday night and
the rest of the NFC East teams play their games on Sunday at 1:00pm. The Cowboys
(6-2) play at home against the Cardinals (6-1). The Eagles (5-2) are on the road
against the Texans (4-4) and the Redskins (3-5) are in Minnesota with the Vikings
The Cowboys, Eagles and Redskins are favored to win in these games.
Team Giants Store, and
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Giants DVDs and
will play their third consecutive game against a division leading first-place
Giants are 10-15 after a regular-season
bye, but have won their last six.
have not scored an opening-possession TD in 18 consecutive games, the NFL’s longest
Giants pre-game ceremony will
honor more than 60 former top players.
will have a halftime ceremony honoring recent Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee
Colts Andrew Luck leads
the league in passing attempts, completions and passing yards.
Andrew Luck has passed for more than 300 yards in the last 6 consecutive games
for a team record.
Colts Andrew Luck
is tied with Peyton Manning for the league lead in touchdown passes (22).
Nov 9- Giants at Seahawks.
Nov 16- San Francisco at Giants.
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