There’s plenty of disappointment surrounding the Giants following their official exit from playoff contention last week. With an ugly 17-0 loss to the Titans, the Giants season is over with just two games left to play the role of spoiler.
The Colts come into this game red-hot and still alive in their search for a playoff berth in the AFC. Desperation sides with the Colts as the Giants will try and derail Indy’s season.
The offense was nonexistent against the Titans and the defense allowed gaping holes to Tennessee’s ground game. That isn’t even the biggest concern. Odell Beckham Jr. has missed the last two games with a quad injury and could be shut down for the rest of the season.
This won’t be as simple as putting pressure on Andrew Luck for the Giants to win. They will have to use Saquon Barkley as much as possible and hold off the Colts running attack.
Indy comes into this game still alive in the hunt for the second wild-card spot in the AFC. They have to win out and need a loss by the Ravens to keep hope alive. Beyond one of the league’s most prolific arms in Luck, their defense boasts one of the best young talents in LB Darius Leonard.
The Colts shut down the Cowboys running attack last week making a huge statement against one of the NFL’s best backs. They will have to duplicate that performance this week, as they hope Leonard can be the antidote for Barkley.
The biggest issue for the Giants has been, and will continue to be, moving the football in the air. Eli Manning relied heavily on TE Evan Engram last week, which usually is a recipe for nothing working on the outside. With Beckham Jr. expected to miss this game it’s just difficult to see how NY moves the football at the same rate as Indy.
The defense is also a major concern. They gave up 170 yards and 2 TDs last week to Derrick Henry, same guy who lit up the Jags the week before. You would think there would be some game plan to slow him down. Marlon Mack is Indy’s lead rusher with seven scores on the ground.
Mack came off a huge game against the Cowboys – 139 yards & 2 TD – and will be given plenty of chances to repeat that against the Giants. Take the Colts and give the points at 888Sport.
The Colts have the eighth-highest scoring offense in the league at 26.3 PPG but they simply can’t do it alone. What will prove to be a more important stat regarding why this will hit under is how many points Indy gives up. The Colts are 11th in the NFL giving up just 21.4 ppg, matched up with a Giants offense that was blanked last week without their top WR.
The Colts big win last week against Dallas didn’t even come from the arm of Luck, rather by the legs of Mack. I have little doubt the Colts will be able to utilize the connection of Luck and T.Y. Hilton in the air, especially against a Giants defense that gives up over 230 yards in the air per contest.
The home crowd advantage will be on full display as the Giants limp into an impossible situation. The Colts, like Dallas the week before, have an amazing LB who can cover a ton of lateral ground. That’s the best – maybe only way – to truly limit Barkley on the ground. The Giants were unable to score all game against Tennessee last week, and do not return their top threat in the air.
Beyond the home-field advantage for the Colts, it’s simply a matter of who has the better chance of establishing early rhythm. The Colts have scored at least one touchdown in each of their last four home games. That’s a tough number for a weak and ineffective Giants defense to counter.
If this game is any reflection of what each team did the previous week, it would be a shock if the Colts aren’t up big after one. Bet them to score the first TD at -190 with Betfair.
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