INDIANAPOLIS – This week’s Monday Night Football matchup will be all about redemption. The Indianapolis Colts (5-3) were sent reeling after a 51-34 loss at the hands of the Pittsburgh Steelers last week at Heinz Field. This week, they head to The Meadowlands to take on the New York Giants (3-4), a team that decided not to re-invest in current Colts Ahmad Bradshaw and Hakeem Nicks.
The severing of the cord was not something the two players took lightly. This week, Bradshaw told Giants reporters on a conference call, “That was family to me at one time and that was like home to me. (Giants.com)”
Bradshaw would also say, “It just hurt me because that was my family; I was a big part of that team.” He went on to say. “I gave everything I could to the Giants. Injury-wise, I gave my all whenever I was out there, hurt or not. When I left, I didn’t know at first why. I still felt like I had a lot of football left. (New York Times)”
Nicks told the reporters, “I don’t let that mental part get to me. I just focus on [being] in this new situation and the chance that I have to prove to this organization and this team what I can bring to the table. I think that is what I look forward to each and every day. (Giants.com)”
- Monday, November 3, 8:30pm EDT
- East Rutherford, NJ, MetLife Stadium
- TV – ESPN (Mike Tirico, Jon Gruden, Lisa Salters)
- Radio – WFNI 107.5FM/1070AM The Fan and 97.1FM Hank FM.
Here are the main points I will be looking for on Monday:
- Colts offense needs to get back to clock control, defensive line needs to get back to controlling line of scrimmage – Coming into Week 8 against Pittsburgh the Colts led the league in average time of possession per game, but during the game they were doubled up in the wrong direction (39:43 – 20:17). The Colts were forced to abandon the run early in the game due to the Steelers passing at will. The Colts defensive line was barely able to generate pressure or open up any blitzing lanes. Running the ball creates long offensive drives, and pressuring the opposing quarterback gets their offense off of the field quicker. The Colts had been doing a great job at both in previous contests, but their inability to do them against Pittsburgh really tilted the TOP in the Steelers’ favor.
- Last shot for Nicks? – Nicks was a fairly high-profile free agent signing for the Colts this offseason. He was known as one of the better receivers in the league but had been unable to shake the past injuries that plagued him. He seemed healthy coming into the 2014 season, but his numbers have been far from excellent compared to the expectations. Nicks has just 18 receptions through eight games, and he is now losing playing time to rookie Donte Moncrief, who has seen just a third of the playing time that Nicks has but has been far more productive. If starting receiver Reggie Wayne does not play again this week against the Giants, it will put Nicks on a pedestal once again. If he fails to produce and Moncrief performs well, it may be an uneventful second half of the season for Nicks.
- If LaRon Landry plays, will he return in full capacity? – Formerly suspended safety LaRon Landry practiced with the team for the first time in several weeks on Thursday. The coaching staff has said they will evaluate Landry throughout the week before deciding whether or not they will activate him for Monday’s contest. If they decide to make him active, will he resume his starting roll and play the usual amount of snaps that he ordinarily would, or will Sergio Brown continue to get playing time? After all, Brown has done a very adequate job in Landry’s absence.
- Colts Injury Report – PROBABLE – RB Trent Richardson (hamstring), CB Vontae Davis (knee) | QUESTIONABLE – WR Reggie Wayne (elbow), DT Arthur Jones (ankle) | OUT – OLB Erik Walden (hip/quad)
- Giants Injury Report – QUESTIONABLE – DT Cullen Jenkins (calf), CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (back/hamstring) | OUT – RB Rashad Jennings (knee)
- Anthony Castonzo vs. Jason Pierre-Paul – Last week, the Colts offensive line had a tough time keeping the Steelers from harassing quarterback Andrew Luck. They face another tough test this week in defending defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul. The responsibility of keeping ‘JPP’ at bay will mostly be on the shoulders of Colts left tackle Anthony Castonzo. Pierre-Paul has not been lighting up the stat sheets this season, but he has made a huge impact on the Giants’ defense.
- Cory Redding vs. Will Beatty (7.5)/Weston Richburg (-6.2) – When the Colts are at their best, the defensive line and Cory Redding seem to be right in the middle of it. Redding will face a tough test while matched up with New York left tackle Will Beatty, but he has an advantage over rookie guard Weston Richburg. If Redding can win his matchups, he will make Giants quarterback Eli Manning’s day an arduous one.
- Greg Toler vs. Odell Beckham Jr. – With cornerback Vontae Davis back and relatively healthy, that likely earns him the task of covering Giants receiver Rueben Randle. That leaves Colts corner Greg Toler to face off against rookie first-round pick Odell Beckham Jr. Beckham may just be a rookie, but his speed and athleticism will give Toler a tall task come Monday.
- On Tuesday, the Colts signed wide receiver Chandler Jones to the practice squad and released running back/kick returner Jeff Demps from the practice squad.
- On Wednesday, the Colts signed linebacker Carlos Fields to the practice squad and released tight end Konrad Reuland from the practice squad.
Keep up with us here and on Twitter throughout the week for more Colts news and analysis.
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Jake Arthur is the Associate Editor and Indianapolis Colts Beat Writer for the Indiana Sports Report. Follow @JakeArthurISR and @IndySportsRep on Twitter.