Colts-Giants: Matchups to Watch

Get the game plan for both teams and the key matchups to watch in the "Sunday Night Football" clash between the Colts and Giants ...

Giants DEs Justin Tuck/Osi Umenyiora vs. Colts OTs Charlie Johnson/Ryan Diem: In losing to Houston last week, Indianapolis' offensive line allowed two sacks but QB Peyton Manning was knocked down 10 other times. Johnson (foot) was playing hurt. His status for the New York game remains undetermined.

Colts WRs Reggie Wayne, Pierre Garcon, Austin Collie vs. Giants CBs Corey Webster, Terrell Thomas: Yes, Collie had a career-best 11 receptions for 163 yards and a touchdown in last week's loss to the Texans. But there were drops and fumbles by Colts receivers that proved costly.

Giants QB Eli Manning vs. Colts QB Peyton Manning: Older brother Peyton won the first meeting of the two siblings in Eli's backyard four years ago. Can younger brother return the favor Sunday night?

Giants OLB Michael Boley vs. Colts TE Dallas Clark: Clark, who after just one week is the Colts' leading receiver with 11 receptions for 80 yards and a touchdown, does an exceptional job of finding the soft spots in the coverage and has the speed and quickness to give opposing linebackers fits. Boley is the Giants' most athletic linebacker, exhibiting fine sideline-to-sideline range. Given his speed and athleticism, Boley, who usually lines up over the tight end, should help keep Clark in check.

Giants LT David Diehl vs. Colts DRE Dwight Freeney: Diehl might have managed to hold onto his starting job this summer, but speed rushers such as Freeney have given him fits. Freeney, the Colts sack leader in 2009 with 13.5, is so quick off the ball that often times he is into the backfield before the left tackle has a chance to anchor. Don't be surprised if the Giants give Diehl some help in keeping Freeney away from Eli Manning.

COLTS GAME PLAN: Run the football better. Protect the quarterback better. Hold on to the football. Catch the football. Make plays when the opportunity is there.

That's the offensive game plan for the Colts. Indianapolis was sluggish for most of its season opener at Houston last week. There were far too many mental and physical errors.

Defensively, stop the run. Or at least slow down New York's running attack. Put pressure on the Giants' offense. Force turnovers. Indianapolis needs a much better performance than the one it had against the Texans last week.

GIANTS GAME PLAN: 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.

"They're a good football team; they represented the AFC in the Super Bowl last year. You can't go out there sleeping on them and think that they're just going to lie down again and let you have your way with them. We expect them to go in there and have a tough fight and expect to go downhill and be physical."

Still, Jacobs said there is some benefit to reviewing what the Texans did in exploiting the Colts' run defense.

"We look at the Houston game and look at certain run keys and reads, but we know it's going to be a tough, physical game."


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