Behind Enemy Lines with Ed Thompson

Ken Palmer asked Ed Thompson,'s Editor, some questions about the Colts as part of our pre-game analysis for this weekend's game.

Ken Palmer: Are there any other significant injury situations that could impact the outcome of this game?

Ed Thompson: Left guard Ryan Lilja is expected to miss the game due to a knee injury that kept him out of most of training camp. Stepping in is a second-year player out of Texas Tech, Dylan Gandy, who saw some action as a starter late last season. The status of defensive tackle Corey Simon is also up in the air. He hopes to be ready after getting his knee scoped and cleaned out a bit during training camp, but as of Tuesday he hadn't practiced yet. If he can't go, the Colts still have two starting-quality defensive tackles – Raheem Brock and Montae Reagor – who can handle the middle. But Simon brings a bit more bulk for rushing downs than the other two. Slot receiver Brandon Stokley suffered a high ankle sprain in camp and appears to be on track to return to action this Sunday. But it will be his first live action since mid-August.

Ken Palmer: Will the Giants have a better chance to run or pass against the Colts?

Ed Thompson: The Colts defense has looked a bit suspect against the run, so I expect the Giants will test that early. If they can be successful there, it also keeps Peyton on the sidelines. The Colts have really improved their secondary with young talent over the past three years. The only concern there may be if the Colts start both right cornerback Jason David and safety Mike Doss, who both just returned to practice on Tuesday from injuries. It appears that the Colts may opt to give rookie Antoine Bethea the start in place of Doss, but it's likely that David will return to his starter's role. The Colts have a pair of talented cornerbacks – Marlin Jackson and Kelvin Hayden – to add to the mix when extra defensive backs are needed on the field.

Ken Palmer: Which type of DB has had the best luck against Marvin Harrison?

Ed Thompson: An aggressive, in-your-face type of defensive back. If a defensive back can maul Harrison a bit at the line of scrimmage, he'll have a better chance of minimizing the damage he can do. But he better be sure of himself and keep great position at all times while he's doing it, because Harrison will make him pay – and big – if the Colt veteran can get the defensive back to overreact even by a step.

Ken Palmer: Which rookie is most likely to get noticed in this game?

Ed Thompson: If he gets the start, sixth-round pick Antoine Bethea out of Howard University. He missed ten days in camp because of a knee injury and still played beyond his experience level during the preseason. He's got such great instincts for being around the ball that Tony Dungy remarked that "We'll coach him into a guy who doesn't make as many plays if we're not careful." He recovered two fumbles and made an interception during preseason action. If he doesn't start, top draft pick Joseph Addai will have the best opportunity to make some big plays in spot duty at the running back position.

Ken Palmer: Which Manning brother will be smiling after the game?

Ed Thompson: Hopefully, both of them, because they should both have a great season regardless of how this one turns out. But if you're asking who will get the win, I'd have to give the edge to Peyton because of his experience level and because he's working with the same guys he did last year with the exception of Dominic Rhodes stepping in for Edgerrin James.

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