The New York Giants started off their 2010 campaign with a key victory over the Carolina Panthers, 31-18. The week two contest against the Indianapolis Colts will be tough, but is not an impossible game to win. Here are five keys for the Giants to come out on top in the second Manning Bowl.
1. Keep the Colts in long third down conversion attempts
There is no doubt that the Giants linebackers are the weak link for the defense. Keith Bullock was a nice addition in the off season but he is not a great player in coverage. The Giants' strength on defense remains to be the pressure they can apply on quarterbacks.
If they have Peyton in long third downs, they will have a chance to pressure him and either force a mistake or get a sack. If he does complete short passes to Dallas Clark, Reggie Wayne, or any of the other more than capable receivers, the linebackers must hit hard and wrap on all tackles.
2. Run the ball
If anything showed true for the Colts against the Houston Texans last week, it was their lack of a run defense. Arian Foster ran to the tune of 231 yards rushing and three touchdowns. Ahmad Bradshaw and Brandon Jacobs most likely will not rush for that much. Still, if the Giants can pound the ball and force the Colts' defense to respect the run it will open up the pass that much more.
3. Catch the damn ball!
The Giants receivers dropped way too many catch-able balls against the Panthers last Sunday. Three drops by Eli's receivers resulted in interceptions. The game was disrupted by rain and may have affected the condition of the ball.
This game will be played in Lucas Oil Stadium, which has a retractable roof. There are no excuses this week for dropped balls.
4. Don't try to stop Peyton
Peyton Manning is arguably one of the best quarterbacks in the history of the NFL. He is precise and manages an offense like no other. Many teams can only hope to limit Peyton to 300 yards of passing. I'm guessing he will be right around the 250-yard mark on Sunday night. Avoid the big plays and the Giants will have a fighting chance.
5. Special teams must perform
The Giants biggest weakness appears to be the special teams after one week of play. Matt Dodge was lackluster at best punting the ball. He must get more hang time on his kicks. On kickoffs, stay in lanes and tackle well. The last thing you want when playing the Colts is giving Peyton Manning a short field to work with.