This Sunday, the Colts will get the chance to respond to the loss as they travel to Metlife Stadium to face the Giants. Unlike the Colts, the Giants looked sharp in their first preseason game by beating the Steelers 18-13 in Pittsburgh. Injuries have hit the Colts this off-season, and many players will sit out this game. TE Coby Fleener apparently had a concussion in the first preseason game. Fleener returned to practice earlier this week, but is still uncertain for Sunday’s game. RB Ahmad Bradshaw was taken off the PUP list this week, but has still not practiced and will not play this week. Khaled Holmes, Hugh Thornton, Pat Angerer and LaRon Landy will all be out, too.
Although it doesn’t seem like it at times, the Colts do still have many questions that need to be answered on the offensive side of the ball. New offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton has been public about saying this team will be a running football team, however, that statement was not backed-up against the Bills as the team only ran the ball 16-times for 72-yards. If the team is going to be using a lot of fullback sets, which it looks like they are, running the ball efficiently and consistently will be a must. With Ahmad Bradshaw still out, this is the period for Vick Ballard to prove himself as a worthy starting back for this team. There are also a few questions to be answered from the teams wide receiving core. T.Y. Hilton had a fantastic rookie year, and has created a lot of excitement this off-season. During the first preseason game, he added to the excitement as he put on a show that included a fantastic 45-yard touchdown catch. It will be interesting to watch him moving forward to see if he can solidify himself as a solid second option behind Reggie Wayne. Darius Heyward-Bey has been a huge question mark so far since becoming a Colt. He has had his ups-and-downs in practice, and had no catches against the Bills after being targeted only one time. He has a lot of potential, and hopefully he starts to show it very soon. Lastly, we must keep watch of Luck and company as they get more used to Pep Hamilton’s offense which is more methodical and efficient than last years offense.
The Giants offense comes with their fair share of questions as well. With Ahmad Brandshaw becoming a Colt, the Giants now look at David Wilson to be their main back. Wilson did not show much in his first game as the starter as he only had 16-yards on five-carries. However, the Giants passing game will remain their weapon on offense. Over the past couple of years, Eli Manning has made a name for himself as one of the top quarterbacks in the league. Manning is facing some challenges with his weapons, though. Hakeem Nicks has not proved to be a reliable player due to his injuries, missed game against Steelers with a groin injury, but will play against the Colts. Even with Nicks playing, the Giants still need to find another reliable receiver after Victor Cruz. Not only did they lose Bradshaw, but they also lost TE Martellus Bennett, who had a great season, to the Chicago Bears. Brandon Myers came from Oakland to replace him, and it will be interesting to see if he can be a productive replacement.
After making multiple moves via free agency and the draft, the Colts made it clear that defense was a big need. Going into this season, the idea is to have a tougher front-seven that attacks up the middle and stops the run. Unfortunately, the defense did not look too good against the Bills. Stopping the run has remained the biggest concern for the Colts, and although they only allowed 136-yards rushing against the Bills, it was the Bills’ starters that ran the ball with ease. C.J. Spiller was having his way as he ran for 36-yards on only four carries, and EJ Manuel also added 28-yards of his own on three carries. The Colts will definitely get their chance to redeem themselves as they try to stop David Wilson and company.
Last season, the Giants were among the worst defensive teams in the entire NFL. They ranked 31st in overall team defense by giving up 22 points a game on 383-yards a game. Slowing down opponents passing attack seemed impossible for them last season, but did look better against the Steelers as they held Big Ben to just 36-yards on 50% completion. The pressure their front line got that was highly praised during their Super Bowl run just a couple years ago seemed to be gone last season, but there were glimpses of it against the Steelers. The Giants should be able to score points all season, but it will be there defense that determines how successful their season will be.
Although this may just be a preseason game, the game does still matter and there will be many things to watch for. At the very least, it will be a very entertaining match-up between the two teams starters when they are out there. Look for the Colts to bounce back from their week one loss.
The game can be seen this Sunday on FOX at 7PM EST.