Last week, the Giants were shut out by the Tennessee Titans, who bottled up Saquon Barkley and dared Eli Manning to beat them without Odell Beckham.
Last week, the Colts shut down the Dallas Cowboys, by limiting Ezekiel Elliott and rushing Dak Prescott. Their defense also rose to the occasion a couple of times with a fourth-down stop included in some stout red zone play.
Can the Giants adjust to what will certainly be an attempt by the Colts to match their own defensive output of a week ago by mimicking the Titans’ game plan? New York’s track record this season doesn’t lend itself to hope in radical game plan adjustments.
The team went away from the run early. Then rain, wind, and bad drops kept the passing game from getting on track. Coach Pat Shurmur could reason that better weather in Indianapolis this weekend will let Manning lead a better passing attack.
Indianapolis’ Marlon Mack has to be anxious to run against the Giants porous run defense. The Giants are near the bottom in yards and touchdowns to rushers, a statistic not helped by the 170 yards and two scores put up by Derick Henry last week.
New York has won four of their last six games, but the key to those victories was the unleashing of Barkley. Tennessee exposed the Giants’ Plan B as nonexistent.
Injuries and notes
Pat Shurmur says Odell Beckham’s injured quad is getting better and he hopes he can return to play against the Colts. Beckham, who regularly butts heads with the team’s training staff and coaches, has not indicated if he will play or not.
Sterling Shepard (knee) and Russell Shepard (ankle) are both questionable.
Eli Manning will start despite Shurmur’s assertion that he might look at their other quarterbacks once the team is eliminated from the playoffs, which they were last week. Kyle Lauletta’s legal woes and his awful debut in relief might be the reason Shurmur said Manning has “years” left in his arm after announcing him as the starter.
Indianapolis put defensive tackle Al Woods on injured reserve.
Shurmur came under the critique of New York’s sports media this week for the lack of adjustments and rapid retreat from the running game in last week’s shutout. He is not winning anyone over with his insistence that Eli Manning is still a top-rated passer with years left in his career.
Giants ownership tries to create stability in its locker room, but if Eli doesn’t rebound next season behind a new and improved offensive line, Shurmur and GM Dave Gettleman should be under intense scrutiny.
Frank Reich has the Colts right in the mix for a wild-card spot, which could come down to winning a Week 17 finale with the Titans. It is more than most fans expected from the rookie head coach.
How to watch the Colts-Giants game
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Who will win the Colts-Giants game?
It hasn’t been a fun season in New York for Giants fans. Questionable injuries and unimaginative game plans have fans tuning out in a hurry.
Mike Vrabel has Colts fans as excited as they have been in years. He won’t let the team blow it by coming out flat against an inferior opponent.
Final score: Colts 33, Giants 17