Colts vs Giants – We like the Colts and the Over in this one!
By Rich Bergeron
Coming off an epic 51-34 beating laid on the team by the Pittsburgh Steelers, the Indianapolis Colts will be trying to prevent a losing streak and extend the New York Giants’ losing streak to three games this Monday night. The Giants will have a week of rest under their belt for this battle to remain relevant as playoff contenders.
Colts Quarterback Andrew Luck (225-347, 2,731 yards, 22 TDs) is of course having a phenomenal season thus far, but he’s still fairly green in the NFL. He doesn’t have that veteran swagger on the field yet, that poise under pressure that comes with years of experience. It does help that he’s the team’s third-best rushing threat, though. Rather than just throw the ball away on most downs when nothing’s there, Luck can scramble better than most starting QBs and often find room to run. He’s already up to 124 rushing yards with two touchdowns.
The Colts defense let Ben Roethlisberger put up 522 yards and six touchdown passes last week, though. They do have 21 sacks to go with six interceptions, but they rank 21st against the pass compared to ninth in the league against the run.
Eli Manning will either:
A. Take the brunt of the defense’s frustration after their worst defeat of the season turns into motivation to improve on all fronts.
B. Find out that the Colts defense just is what we thought it was: really horrible.
A lousy day at the office for the Colts secondary this week could be forgiven if Luck and the Indy offense get an early lead and keep piling on, but too many repeated mistakes on defense can ruin even the best offensive efforts.
The Colts running game is also fairly decent with Trent Richardson and Ahmad Bradshaw providing the perfect 1-2 punch. the backs have two rushing touchdowns each, 729 combined rushing yards and 437 combined receiving yards. Bradshaw is also a huge red zone threat with six receiving scores.
One of the reasons Luck doesn’t need so much swagger this season is his receiving corps. Future Hall of Famer Reggie Wayne (38 receptions, 434 yards, TD) will be a full participant in Monday’s game, and T.Y. Hilton (53 receptions, 866 yards, 2 TDs) is on an incredible tear this season despite not having a ton of touchdowns to show for it.
The Giants defense will need to step up big on Monday night to beat these charging Colts on their own home turf. They have just 13 sacks, but they make up for it with 11 interceptions on the season. They rank 25th against the pass and 22nd against the run.
Eli Manning (146-225, 1,573 yards, 14 TDs) will be well rested and healthy for this game, but the big questions looming for this one are: will he will be roughed up early, and will he maintain his recent accuracy (no interceptions in his last three games).
Giants Running Back Rashad Jennings and his 4.4 yards-per-carry will be sorely missed for this game. Backup Andre Williams has 280 yards and two scores on the ground, though. He’s no slouch. Still, New York is having a horrible injury year. Receiver Victor Cruz is out for the season with a knee injury and Middle Linebacker Jon Beason is out for the same stretch with a broken foot and a torn tendon.
Tight End Larry Donnell is the leading receiver behind Cruz with 33 catches for 332 yards and 4 scores. The rest of the team’s receivers will have to start trying to step up and be the leader Cruz was if the Giants want to put together some wins in the coming weeks. A win for the Giants Monday will depend on these young receivers making some huge plays.
Prediction: The Colts win 42-24, appeasing everyone betting the over. Andrew Luck will bounce back from getting overshadowed by Big Ben last week. He won’t let Manning put him to shame, and he should connect for at least three touchdowns Monday. Bradshaw and Richardson will also have busy days, each scoring once. The Colts defense will even get in on the scoring as Manning slips back into his old wayward throwing ways. The Giants just don’t have it together, and the Colts will use their loss last week to strengthen their team and learn from their mistakes. The Colts offense will fire on all cylinders while the Giants defense sputters. Manning will try to keep up, but he just can’t do enough to avoid three losses in a row for the Giants.