With the dress rehearsal game against the Saints done, we can now start focusing on the regular season opener against the Giants. Nothing against the Bengals (who are the Colts' opponents for the fourth pre-season game), but no one cares about the last pre-season game. If the NFL were to shorten the pre-season, I'd argue that the last game could go, and an additional regular season game get added.
From the way it looks now, both the Colts and the Giants will walk into the Meadowlands with healthy teams (hopefully). The Giants are a very solid test for the Colts. They have an outstanding running game, led by the most under-rated RB in football: Tiki Barber. Their receiving corps is good, and their front seven on defense is one of the better groups in football. With Eli Manning, you don't really know what you're getting. At times, he can look brilliant. Other times, his accuracy can get sketchy.
The Colts' speed should pose serious problems for the G Men. Their offensive line is good, but if Walter Jones couldn't block Dwight Freeney, I'm not convinced the Giants will either. They will, most likely, run lots of screens and draws to Barber. They want him involved early and often. On defense, the Giants will blitz. Antonio Pierce is a fine LBer, but the newest Giant LBer, Lavar Arrington, stinks. in fact, he's always stunk. He has no cartlalige left in his knee. He can't cover, can't tackle well, and he's lazy. But, he can blitz very well, and the Giants will use him to get to Peyton Manning. Obviously, Giant DEs Michael Strahan and Osi Umenyiora will present problems for Colts tackles Tarik Glenn and Ryan Diem. Tarik typically stones Strahan when they play, but I'm not so sure Diem will have that kind of success against Umenyiora.
We'll talk more about this game as we gear up for Kickoff Weekend: Sunday Night Football!