Game Scout: Giants at Colts
QB Peyton Manning (Larry French/Getty)
QB Peyton Manning (Larry French/Getty)

Posted Sep 19, 2010


The NFL experts at The Sports XChange provide all the info you need to know before the Colts and Giants square off Sunday at Lucas Oil Stadium in downtown Indianapolis.

KICKOFF: Sunday, 8:20 p.m. ET
SURFACE: Field Turf
TV: NBC (Al Michaels, Cris Collinsworth, Andrea Kremer)

PREDICTION: Colts 34-24

KEYS TO THE GAME: Last week the Giants' running game had its share of struggles, as the duo of starter Ahmad Bradshaw and Brandon Jacobs recorded a combined 32 runs for 120 yards (3.75 yards per carry). This week, the Giants rushers might have gotten the break they need to get things fully uncorked as Colts S Bob Sanders, regarded as one of the better run support safeties in the league, will miss the game with a torn biceps.

Still, Jacobs said he doesn't expect the Colts to allow a repeat of last week when the Texans ran for 257 yards on 42 carries. "This is the National Football League and we know that they're going to come out and make some adjustments," Jacobs said.

FAST FACTS: The Giants have won seven Week 2 road games since 2000. ... Perhaps the most memorable meeting between the two longtime NFL franchises occurred on Dec. 28, 1958 with the then-Baltimore Colts posting a 23-17 overtime win in the 1958 NFL Championship Game. The meeting has been called "The Greatest Game Ever Played." The last matchup in the series also had some significance as it was the first "Manning Bowl" — pitting quarterbacking brothers Peyton (Colts) and Eli (Giants) at the Meadowlands (Sept. 10, 2006). The Colts won that meeting 26-21. INSIDE THE CAMPS:
Giants:

This week, the Giants defense will face one of its toughest challenges of the season when it squares off against the Indianapolis Colts in a Sunday primetime matchup. Given the Colts' prolific passing offense -- last week, Indianapolis blasted the Texans for 433 passing yards — the Giants' defense is very much in tune with what it has to do to make sure that Peyton Manning doesn't come close to those numbers against them.

"You know what they say," said safety Deon Grant, who could play a big role this week if the Giants deploy a significant does of three safeties to thwart the Colts' passing attack. "When you cut the head off of the monster, you make it ineffective."

Therein lies the challenge of the defense as Manning, the 13-year veteran and future Hall of Famer, has through the years exhibited the precision and accuracy of a micro-surgeon in picking apart opposing defenses.

"The offense goes through Peyton Manning," said LB Keith Bulluck, who as a member of the Tennessee Titans, faced Manning's Colts twice a year for 10 years. "Regardless of who they put in, unless it's a new quarterback, it's systematic. Players use their abilities to their favor to get open and make the offense work. At the same time, No. 18 is the guy who makes it all work."

Yet in listening to the members of the Giants defense, who have the utmost respect for what Manning has accomplished, stopping No. 18 isn't impossible.

For starters, the Giants know that they cannot let Manning dictate the tempo of the game. "You have to hit him early, force some turnovers, and force them to punt once in a while," said quarterback Jim Sorgi, who was Manning's understudy in Indianapolis for six years and who knows Manning very well.

Then there is a matter of not letting Manning's constant mind games at the line of scrimmage create doubt as to what the defense has called.

"I think the main thing is you have to stick to your game plan and not switch it," said cornerback Terrell Thomas. "He's the offensive coordinator on the field. He's making calls and checks, and some are false and some are part of what he's going to do. So what you have to do is know your scheme, trust it, and play as one unit."

Lastly, the key to defeating Manning comes down to the basic concept of executing whatever is called. "Sometimes how much you know doesn't really matter," said Sorgi, who despite rehabbing from shoulder surgery was present this week to help offer some insight to his teammates.

"I can give the defense all the information in the world, but it all comes down to, 'Can we get to Peyton? Can we knock him down? Can we get to him before he gets the ball out?' You can know where a route is coming from and still not cover it. So it's all about executing."

"We're going to try to do what we do best," added cornerback Corey Webster. "We're not going to let anyone dictate to us what we do on defense. If we play the type of defense that we want to be known for around here, then we should be OK."

Colts:
A Tale of Two Brothers. That's what Sunday night's game between the New York Giants and Indianapolis Colts has turned into.

Older brother Peyton Manning is a four-time National Football League MVP selection, one-time Super Bowl MVP and two-time Super Bowl participant (winning one championship).

He'll be going up against younger brother Eli, who has his own Super Bowl MVP award and Super Bowl championship to brag about.

The comparisons certainly don't end there. Both were the No. 1 picks in their respective NFL drafts — Peyton in 1998 and Eli in 2004.

They've already faced off against each other once before, in the first so-called "Manning Bowl" to kick off the 2006 regular season.

The Colts won that meeting 26-21 at the Meadowlands. As things stand now, both teams will continue to play each other every four years.

That's just about right for Peyton Manning, who readily admits that both he and Eli grew tired of all the pre-game hype that the initial game between the two attracted.

"Eli and I both agree that we're glad that this [game] is week two. Four years ago, it was the first week of the season. We talked about it [in 2006] all preseason during training camp. Now it's week two and we'll just have to talk about it for one week," the Colts quarterback said.

Both Mannings, though, realize how unique a game at this level — in the NFL — the features a set of brothers with their obvious talents.

"It is an honor and a privilege to be on the same field as your younger brother. It's definitely a special situation," Peyton Manning said.

"Once Eli was drafted, and sort of doing the math, we knew this would be an every four-year thing. I hope to make it to that 2014 game. I'll probably be out of eligibility by the time 2018 comes around. It's unique. We both try to enjoy it."

That being said, Sunday night's game is far more crucial to both teams than the "Manning Bowl" redux.

"No question it's an important game for both teams. The Giants are coming off a big win. We're coming off a disappointing loss. I think it will be a really good ball game," Peyton Manning said.

"Our defense is going to have a challenge. And offensively we know that we're going to have score points because their offense is going to score points."

PERSONNEL NEWS:
Giants:

  • G/T Shawn Andrews, who thus far has been getting most of his reps at guard, will see some reps at tackle this week as he works to get himself ready should there be an emergency at tackle.

  • QB Eli Manning has won nine of his past 13 starts against AFC teams, including Super Bowl XLII against New England. Last season, Manning went 2-2 against AFC teams, winning his first two games against Kansas City and Oakland, and losing the final two games against San Diego and Denver.

  • Starting RB Ahmad Bradshaw's career average (including postseason) against AFC teams is 6.9 yards per carry. That average includes two 100-yard rushing performance, against Buffalo on Dec. 23, 2007 (151 yards), and more recently, against Oakland on Oct. 11, 2009 (110 yards).

  • WR Mario Manningham, who last week had two critical receptions for third-down conversions, has recorded at least 85 receiving yards in the last two games he's played dating back to Dec. 21, 2009, against Carolina. Manningham was inactive for the following week's game against Minnesota due to a shoulder injury, but started his 2010 season with four receptions for 85 yards.

  • WR Steve Smith has a first down reception in 34 consecutive games (including playoffs), and has recorded 62 first down receptions since start of 2009, which is the third highest in the NFC.

  • The Giants signed OL Dennis Landolt, who was with them during the summer, to the practice squad to take the spot vacated when Bear Pascoe was elevated to the 53-man roster.

Colts:

  • CB Jacob Lacey (head) returned for a full practice on Wednesday. Lacey was hurt in the Colts' third preseason game at Green Bay. He is hopeful of playing against the Giants on Sunday night.

  • LB Cody Glenn (hamstring) went through a full practice on Wednesday. Glenn had been sidelined for the past couple of weeks with the injury, which he incurred during a practice session. He is hopeful of playing Sunday against the Giants.

  • C Jeff Saturday (knee) should be good to go to play against the Giants on Sunday night. Saturday went through a full practice on Wednesday. He returned for full practices last week for the first time after undergoing knee surgery during training camp.

  • DT Antonio Johnson (groin) split time with second-year DT Fili Moala in last week's game at Houston. Johnson is expected to continue to rotate with Moala during the Giants game Sunday night.

  • CB Jerraud Powers is expected to continue as the Colts' regular punt returner this week. Powers handled the job for the first time last week in the loss to Houston.

  • CB Justin Tryon saw extensive playing time against the Texans despite joining the team a few days before the game. Tryon saw work on special teams and as a nickel back on defense.


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Related Stories
Scouting the Giants: Defense
 -by ColtsDaily.com  Sep 19, 2010
Scouting the Giants: Offense
 -by ColtsDaily.com  Sep 17, 2010
Brothers in Arms
 -by ColtsDaily.com  Sep 17, 2010

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