Colts-Giants MNF Preview
LUCK VS. MANNING A MUST-SEE BATTLE ON MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL
Because Andrew Luck followed in the footsteps of Peyton Manning as the superstar quarterback of the Indianapolis Colts, his name will be forever linked with the elder Manning in football lore. But, somebody got their first! Eli Manning has been following in Peyton’s footsteps since he was born...and now gets a chance to defeat Luck on national television this Monday Night on ESPN.
That fascinating backdrop isn’t all that’s important about this game though. Indianapolis must bounce back from an embarrassing loss at Pittsburgh if they want to solidify their hold on the AFC South. Second-place Houston isn’t going anywhere just yet. And, a loss for the Colts could set up a potential Wildcard sweat they don’t want any part of either.
The Giants would love to be in position to sweat a Wildcard berth! A slow start, and then a brutal injury to star receiver Victor Cruz has the G-men at just 3-4 coming off their bye week. A loss Monday, and playoff hopes will be pretty dim if not extinguished. A victory, and 4-4 could easily launch a resurgent second half that would at least put them in the discussion.
It’s going to be tough without Cruz. But, Eli Manning is getting the hang of the West Coast offense...and he’s facing a defense this week that just made Ben Roethlisberger look like a legend.
Let’s see what JIM HURLEY’S key indicator stats are saying about the matchup...
Won-Lost Records (Strength of Schedule)
Indianapolis: 5-3 (#15 schedule in USA Today)
NY Giants: 3-4 (#7 schedule in USA Today)
Not as much separating these things as you may have been thinking. Give the Giants a league average schedule...and they’re probably a .500 caliber team. Indianapolis is just a game better than that in the standings halfway through the season. That schedule strength for NYG may be an important sleeper category moving forward.
Indianapolis: 6.1 on offense, 5.9 on defense
NY Giants: 5.1 on offense, 6.2 on defense
On the other hand...the Giants have been squashed in the stats! Good teams aren’t ever -1.1 in YPP differential no matter how hard their schedule has been. New York is lucky to be 3-4 with such a horrible ratio. Indianapolis is just fractionally on the plus side, which marks them as Wildcard caliber vs. a league average slate. Lucky for them they play in a soft division.
NY Giants: +3
That’s a great sign for New York, because they had some Keystone Kops moments early in the season when trying to learn the new offense. You saw last week how soft the Indianapolis defense can play. There’s just no way they’re going to matter in January if they don’t toughen up on that side of the ball. If swirling winds become a factor on a cool November night Monday, that would favor the veteran Eli Manning who has more experience with that in this still relatively new stadium.
Indianapolis: 6-2 ATS
NY Giants: 3-4 ATS
The Colts were 6-1 ATS before last week’s defensive debacle. That’s part of why the market has rated them so highly in the pointspread this week and last. Has there been an over-adjustment? Should they really be laying a field goal or more to the G-men when they shouldn’t have been doing that last week in Pittsburgh? Note that the Giants are 3-2 ATS since a poor 0-2 transitional start. Though, knowing for sure how they should be rated without Cruz in the arsenal may take a few weeks to work out.
Current Line: Indianapolis by 3.5, total of 51
Home field advantage is worth 3 points in the NFL...so that number means the Colts would be favored by almost a touchdown on a neutral field, and about 10 points at home. Is that justified by the handicapping work we’ve just done? JIM HURLEY has some ideas about that...and those ideas have come from his trusted New York sources who have served NETWORK so well over the years. They say this all comes down to the impact (or surprisingly small impact) of missing Cruz in a game against a soft defense. The market price is off by at least FIVE points in their view...and YOU can take advantage of their view right here!
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We move to basketball the next two nights to continue an electric start in that sport. Here’s the upcoming NOTEBOOK schedule...
Tuesday: NBA Preview...Cleveland at Portland
Wednesday: NBA Preview...LA Clippers at Golden State on ESPN
Thursday: NFL Preview...Cleveland at Cincinnati
Friday: College Football Preview...a few potential blockbusters to choose from
Saturday: College Football Preview...most likely Ohio State at Michigan State in the Big 10
For now...the focus is on MONDAY NIGHT because it’s the most important betting night of the week in Las Vegas. Watch yourself GET ALL THE MONEY with JIM HURLEY!