By Michael Stewart/@golferbad

Introduction: The New York Giants are now officially eliminated from the playoffs, although no one really believed they had a chance. Last week’s lost to the Tennessee Titans 17-0 was the final nail in the coffin for the Giants playoff hopes. Head Coach Pat Shurmur has already announced that quarterback Eli Manning will start against the Colts. The Colts have beaten the Giants the last three times they’ve met, most recently in 2014 when the Colts embarrassed them 40-24. The Colts offensively are averaging 26.6 per game, while surrendering 21.4 points per game. They are led by quarterback Andrew Luck who is having a solid season and are currently at 8-6 are fighting for one of the wild cards to make the playoffs. The Giants on the other hand are 5-9 and are looking to play the spoiler role over the last two games of the year. Offensively, the Giants are averaging 21.9 points per game; while giving up 24.9 points per game on defense.

Top 3 Matchups:

  1. 1. Quarterback Andrew Luck-vs-Giants defense: Luck is having a bounce back season after missing all of the 2017 season with a shoulder injury and could win comeback player of the year. Luck has passed for nearly 4000 yards thus far and has a ratio of nearly 3 to 1 with TDS to INTS. He has only been sacked 16 times this season; which doesn’t bold well for a Giants team that are one of the worse teams defensively in the league in sacks with 25. Luck will have a choice of weapons to choose from in running back Marlon Mack, wide receiver T.Y Hilton (if available) and tight end Eric Ebron. The Giants secondary could have a long day if the Giants can’t put pressure on Luck and disrupt his timing and/or force him into mistakes.
  2. Giants offensive line-vs-the Colts defensive front 7: The Giants could be without two of their top wide receivers which could tanslate into a very long day for running Saquon Barkley who will have a target on his back. The Colts have recorded 38 sacks thus far after 14 games; which translate to two per game as the Giants have surrendered 46; which translate to roughly three per game. Colts rookie linebacker Darius Leonard is arguably the front runner for defensive rookie of the year and will be keying on running back Saquon Barkley.
  3. Red Zone Efficiency: The Colts have been consistent all season in the red zone with a 67.9% and the Giants have been consistent as well in red zone, but going in the other direction with a 46.7%. This matchup will determine if this game resembles a close contest or will it become a blow out by the Colts. The Giants will more than likely be in the red zone fewer times than the Colts and if that is the case they need to convert touchdowns and not field goals.

Summary: The Giants could have a few key players missing the game due to injuries and they are wide receiver Odell Beckham (Quad), safety Landon Collins (Shoulder-out for the year), linebacker Alec Ogletree and defensive end Kerry Wynn (undisclosed).  This game has a look of a major blowout for the Colts, especially how each team looked last week (Colts shut out the Cowboys 23-0 and the Giants were shut out by the Titans 17-0). Even with Eli Manning starting; the Giants are facing a team that are primed for a solid effort at home and with playoff implications on the line. Stranger things have happened before in the NFL, but I can’t see the Giants walking out of Lucas Oil Stadium with a win.

Final Score: Colts-31/Giants-17