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Giants Secondary vs. Andrew Luck
The Giants' defensive backfield is ripe with talent, and, on paper, it looks like it could be one of the league's finest in 2014. They will be put to the test against the Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium, where they will face the NFL's most-celebrated young quarterback, 2012 first-overall pick Andrew Luck.
Prince Amukamara and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie will limit Luck's opportunities on the outsides, so expect the Colts quarterback to turn to the slot, where one of his favorite targets, T.Y. Hilton, can do a lot of damage.
Giants slot cornerback Walter Thurmond III drew praise from DRC this week, per Ed Valentine of Big Blue View, and that ability will be on display against Indianapolis.
Last preseason, Luck got the better of New York's secondary, completing nine of 13 attempts for 107 yards and two touchdowns. It'll be interesting to see if he can connect with former Giant Hakeem Nicks for a completion Saturday. Nicks caught one pass for 15 yards in the Colts' preseason opener vs. the New York Jets.
Will Beatty vs. Robert Mathis (...or Bjoern Werner)
Left tackle and Eli Manning's personal blind-side protector (sometimes), Will Beatty, is expected to make his preseason debut against the Colts, per Bob Glauber of Newsday. And if Beatty thinks he might be able to ease his way back into the action, like he has at practice, he can think again—he will likely face rush linebacker Robert Mathis.
Mathis led the NFL with 19.5 sacks last year. Beatty, on the other hand, had an awful season in which his quarterback was constantly harassed. Throw in the fact that this is Beatty's first game back from a broken leg he suffered in Week 17 of last season, and it goes from being a lopsided matchup to a nightmarish one.
Beatty told Art Stapleton of The Record that his matchup with Mathis will be the "true test" to see where he stands in his comeback.
Mathis, however, is suspended the first four games of the season and did not play in the Colts' preseason opener. Although Mathis is expected to play some this preseason, Beatty may luck out and end up seeing more of 2013 first-rounder (24th overall) Bjoern Werner than Mathis Saturday.
Victor Cruz vs. Darius Butler
Victor Cruz thinks he can catch 100 passes this season, yet he hasn't even been targeted once during the preseason. Instead, Manning has more often looked to Jerrel Jernigan (possibly a placeholder for rookie Odell Beckham Jr.) and running back Rashad Jennings releasing out of the backfield.
Cruz said he "would love some" targets in the preseason, per Tom Rock of Newsday. To get one against the Colts, Cruz will need to create space between himself and slot cornerback Darius Butler.
Once considered a second-round bust with the New England Patriots and Carolina Panthers, Butler has carved out a nice little role for himself as an inside corner in Indianapolis, picking off eight passes—and returning three for touchdowns—over the past two seasons.
Butler should be close by in coverage, but this is a matchup we should expect Cruz to win as one of the league's premier slot receivers. If he does not catch a pass for the third straight game, it may be time to consider the new offense's affect on Cruz's chemistry with Manning.
Giants X-Factor of the Week: Corey Washington
Undrafted rookie wideout Corey Washington has been the X-Factor in each of New York's past two preseason contests, so there's a good chance nothing changes against the Colts Saturday.
Through two preseason games, Washington has accumulated four catches for 96 yards and two touchdowns.
In addition to what he's done in front of a large audience, Washington has also stood out in practice. Offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo said Washington has "really done some special things over the last week," per Ralph Vacchiano of the New York Daily News. Rodgers-Cromartie added that he would be surprised if Washington didn't make the team.
After getting a few runs with the first team this week, perhaps Washington will get into the Colts game a bit earlier than he did against either the Bills or Steelers. If so, he will need to make a play or two against some heightened competition to keep the hype train rolling.