Join insiders @zkeefer and @JoelAErickson as they discuss what to expect this Sunday vs the Giants plus some Darius Leonard discussion.
Clark Wade, Clark.Wade@Indystar.com
All we have to do is go back three weeks for a reminder. That’s when I asked: “Is it possibly all a setup for a trap game?”
Of course nobody thought the Indianapolis Colts could lose to the Jacksonville Jaguars. Predictions had a Colts victory by 14 (three of those) and 16 points. (You may recall the result.) As you’ll see below, they’re big favorites against the New York Giants, including predicted winning margins of 21, 18, 17, 19 and 16 points.
What’s the lesson here? Don’t assume a victory, even though the Colts have so much incentive and the Giants have so little.
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Michael D. Smith of Pro Football Talk: Colts 28-7
The Colts are cruising toward the playoffs and should dominate an undermanned Giants team.
Elliot Harrison of NFL.com: Colts 28-10
This could get gnarly awfully fast. The Giants played like dog-, er, poorly against Houston last week in front of their home crowd, despite the fact that they were still in the running for a playoff spot. The Colts did the exact opposite, imposing their will at the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball against Dallas. The offensive line kept Andrew Luck’s royal blue jersey nice and mint while plowing holes through a talented Cowboys front seven en route to 178 yards rushing. If Odell Beckham Jr. is absent again, Big Blue will be in 0-17 trouble again. The Colts didn’t bottle up Ezekiel Elliott last week, but they performed viably enough to not let an elite RB1 beat them by making stops late in drives. A repeat job is in order with the baddest rookie running back in the league coming to town.
Pete Prisco of CBS Sports: Colts 27-10
The Colts have a good chance to get into the postseason and have won two straight. The defense has made big strides. The Giants are playing out the string and looked awful last week. The Colts will have an easy time of it in this one.
Indianapolis Colts linebacker Darius Leonard responds to not getting selected to the Pro Bowl.
Clark Wade, Clark.Wade@Indystar.com
Ryan Wilson of CBS Sports: Colts 31-24
The Giants were 4-1 coming into last week’s game against the Titans and they were summarily blanked. With the playoffs well into the rearview, the biggest mystery in 2018 is whether Eli Manning will return in 2019. The Colts are 7-1 after starting 1-5 and they’re one of the AFC’s hottest teams. Unfortunately, time is not on their side; they have to beat the Giants, which will set up a Week 17 showdown against the Titans, where it could be winner-take-all should the Ravens stumble in front of them.
Tadd Haislop of Sporting News: Colts 33-14
The conversation heading into this one, as it is in most games, will be about the quarterbacks, Eli Manning and Andrew Luck, for differing reasons. It should be about the players who might win offensive and defensive rookie of the year, respectively. Saquon Barkley is coming off a dud of a game against the Titans to face Darius Leonard, who’s easily leading the league in tackles as a rookie. Defense wins championships, or something.
Vinnie Iyer of Sporting News: Colts 30-14
The Giants were shut out by an AFC South foe last week. The Colts shut out an NFC East foe last week. So nothing really has to give here in a matchup of one No. 1 overall QB pick in his prime (Andrew Luck) and another in his twilight (Eli Manning). Look for Indianapolis to grind out another win with its running game and defense, this time with a few shot plays from Luck for good measure. Once the Colts can contain Saquon Barkley, the Giants will have no chance.
Joe Giglio of NJ.com picks the Colts to win but the Giants to keep it within a 9.5-point spread
Man, that “Giants could run the table and make the playoffs” narrative ended quickly. Indianapolis is better, and will win this. But the spread is too big for an indoor game vs. a Giants team with game-changing weapons.
Benjamin Hoffman of The New York Times goes with the Colts
The Colts (8-6) made a dramatic statement last week with their crushing defeat of Dallas. They smothered the Cowboys’ offense and then ran their defense into the ground. Add to that the fact that the team is engaged in the most exciting of the remaining playoff races and that the team’s star quarterback, Andrew Luck, and its breakout rookie linebacker, Darius Leonard, were snubbed from the Pro Bowl, and you have a recipe for a huge win at home. The Giants (5-9) have little reason to try hard and should probably cover Saquon Barkley in Bubble Wrap and hope they have more pieces to put around him next season.
Greg Cote of the Miami Herald: Colts 27-20
Colts’ surge to playoff contention after a 1-5 start has been one of NFL’s season neat little stories. And it isn’t just Andrew Luck’s big comeback — it’s that Indy has found a defense! I do think NYG-plus-10 is a fair play, especially if you’re rolling dice that day-to-day Odell Beckham will play.
USA Today: 5 for the Colts, all by double digits