Giants prepare to meet Luck, old friends

The Monday night clash with the Indianapolis Colts could set the tone for the rest of New York Giants 2014 campaign.

The Giants better be well rested after their bye week, because their first game back in action is a crucial home tilt with the Indianapolis Colts. Backed by the strong play of quarterback Andrew Luck, the Colts are 5-3 and on pace for a second straight AFC South title. The Giants see their path to the NFC East crown looking a little bit clearer after losses by Philadelphia and Dallas in Week 8, but to make up ground, New York needs to play solidly and quit making costly mistakes.

“We are making some of the same mistakes over and over again that are preventing us from winning games,” said quarterback Eli Manning, “It is pretty obvious in the games where we don’t make those mistakes, we dominate and play really well and do a lot of good things. When we have the turnovers, the penalties and those types of things, we don’t play as well.”

The Colts have some mistakes of their own to correct. After ripping off five straight wins and looking like one of the top teams in the NFL, Indianapolis got crushed by Pittsburgh on Sunday, 51-34.

“Yeah, Pittsburgh played really well,” said Manning, “They did a great job in protection. Ben [Roethlisberger] threw some great balls, receivers were winning on routes, so that is just the way football goes sometimes. The week before, Indianapolis dominated Cincinnati. They had a great pass rush. It was hard for Cincinnati’s offense to do anything. Then it kind of flip-flopped around the following week with Pittsburgh doing whatever they wanted.”

If the offensive line can keep Manning off the turf, the New York offense has a chance to exploit the Indianapolis defense the way Ben Roethlisberger did with his wide receivers. Luck has some weapons of his own, though. Ahmad Bradshaw and Hakeem Nicks are former Giants who are set to play key roles in the Colts’ offense on Monday night.

“I guess it’s always good to see some former teammates and buddies,” said Manning, “Ahmad was a good buddy of mine. Hakeem was a great friend of mine. It seems like they are playing well and making plays, so hopefully we will see them, but hopefully they won’t have a big day against us.” Bradshaw in particular has been a pleasant surprise for the Colts. Despite a history checkered with injuries, he’s managed to rack up two rushing touchdowns and six receiving touchdowns in the first eight games of the season.

“He is catching the ball well and running hard. He looks like his old self,” said Manning, “I know he has had some injuries and stuff with his neck and feet. It seems like he took the time and rehabbed those well and he has come back feeling fresh and is running hard and looks to be playing really well.”

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