AFC South Week 2 Preview: New York Giants at Colts
New York Giants (1-0) at Colts (0-1) . . .
The second week of the NFL season always is intriguing.
The reason is that the results of Week 2 often confirm or confuse the results of Week 1, and such is the scenario facing several teams around the AFC South this week.
Perhaps for no AFC South team is Week 2 more important than the defending division champion, Indianapolis Colts. The perennial AFC power and the default preseason division favorite practically since its 2002 inception, lost their 2010 regular-season opener. The loss not only pushed the Colts into the unfamiliar position of sole possession of last place in the division, it created two key storylines/concerns.
Those concerns without question will be a theme Sunday. The matchup of Colts quarterback Peyton Manning and his little brother, Giants quarterback Eli Manning, almost certainly will be the highest-profile media highlight. But the Colts' pass protection and run defense are the more-pertinent issues for those whose jobs it is to address such things.
The Colts allowed 257 yards and three touchdowns rushing in a 34-24 loss to the Houston Texans in the opener Sunday, with 231 and all three touchdowns coming from second-year Houston running back Arian Foster. Offensively, the Colts struggled to protect Manning. He was sacked two times and spent much of the game under pressure, making his 40-of-57, three-touchdown performance more remarkable than might be expected in the team's first loss to the Texans since 2006.
The Colts aren't worried about their difficult Week 1 performance. They have had troubles against the run in the past, and believe the problems in the opener are fixable. They also believe that as the offensive line returns to health and gains continuity that area will get better.
A major issue this week is the opponent. The Giants averaged just 3.3 yards a carry, and Eli Manning passed for three touchdowns in a victory over Carolina, but the Giants historically like to run first, and almost certainly will test Indianapolis in that area.
The Giants also registered four sacks against Carolina this past week, making the work the Colts need to get done something that needs to be done quickly.