NFL Preseason 2014 Preview: New York Giants vs. Indianapolis Colts
The Indianapolis Colts will play the New York Giants on Saturday night at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. The game is going to feature two great quarterbacks in Andrew Luck and Eli Manning. Both guys should see some extended playing time compared to their games last week. Manning is still continuing to learn a new offense under new offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo, and the more playing time he gets the more comfortable he is going to be when the season starts. With Luck it comes down to continuing to build on a strong performance from last week. Both signal callers should play into the second quarter, playing multiple drives.
The running back position is also going to be a big for both teams. Rashad Jennings had a strong game last week against the Pittsburgh Steelers. He led the team in rushing with 85 yards and a touchdown while backup Andre Williams looked good in limited action. As for the Colts, look to see Trent Richardson continue to build on last week’s decent performance, and Ahmad Bradshaw might be back to face his old team for the first time.
At the wide receiver position, Hakeem Nicks will be playing his old team for the first time as well, and the Colts may have Reggie Wayne back from injury. T.Y. Hilton is still expected to see a lot of playing time at the slot position and on the outside. For the Giants, look to see if all the starters can get on the same page as Manning. This could be the week where rookie Odell Beckham Jr. makes his first start. Look for the rookie to make an impact on the outside position while Victor Cruz moves into the slot.
Both offensive lines were very shaky last year and both quarterbacks got hit a lot. But both showed improvement so far in the preseason. Jonathan Harrison is going to be starting center for the Colts with Khaled Holmes out for a couple of weeks. Harrison could have his hands full with the tough Giants defensive line. With the Giants the spotlight is going to be on Justin Pugh. The second year tackle is going to be facing Bjorn Werner in the trenches. Werner had a strong game against the New York Jets, so it should be an interesting battle within the game.
The pass rush for both teams is going to be interesting, because both are going to want to improve from last season. Werner had a great game last week and is looking to build on that for the upcoming season. Jason Pierre-Paul is looking to regain his form after battling through numerous injuries.
The linebacker position is something to keep an eye on for the Giants as Mark Herzlich is trying to show that he can play the middle linebacker position effectively while Jon Beason continues to rehab his foot. Colts fans should keep their eyes on Henoc Muamba. The rookie was very effective last week and could see some playing time with the starting defense this week.
As for the defensive backs, the Colts are going to have Vontae Davis back from injury. Davis missed a lot of training camp and is under pressure to live up to his contract. There is still a battle for the free safety position while LaRon Landry is still out. The Giants look too see how well Stevie Brown is playing. He missed all of last season with a torn ACL and could be a big part of the defense going forward. Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Walter Thurmond and Prince Amukamara should continue to play at a high level.
The final score of the preseason games means very little; it is all about the battles that happen between the first and last whistle that matter. Players are trying to build towards the regular season. Some are working on a new offense like Manning while others are building on the foundation they set the week before like Luck. Teams do not game plan in the preseason because they want to see players build on their technique so the schemes are very vanilla. My advice is ignore the score and look to see how the players the first team is coming along. The real battle happens on Nov. 3 when these two play each other on Monday Night Football.