The Offensive Line
For much of the first seven weeks of the season, the Colts' offensive line was actually a bright spot and a very encouraging development. Last week against the Steelers, however, the line reverted to looking like it did in the past two years and Andrew Luck was hit hard and hit repeatedly. It's obvious to say that the Colts can't keep having repeat performances of last week, and given that it was just one game in a season in which the line has been playing well, I'm inclined to think it was more of an aberration than anything else. But given the history of poor offensive line play in recent years for the Colts, there's no wonder why fans are concerned. We'll definitely be watching closely to see whether the Colts can keep Luck upright tonight against the Giants.
The Pass Rush
Meanwhile, on the other side of the football, the Colts were completely unable to generate pressure on the Steelers last week. They actually entered the game ranked third in the league in sacks, but last week we saw very clearly that the pass rush had been manufactured and wasn't actually that good - something we figured all along. The Colts send a lot of blitzes and that's really the way they have to play defense with the players they have, but the Steelers last week showed how that can still be a huge weakness. We'll be watching how the Giants play things tonight and whether the Colts are able to get pressure with some of those blitzes tonight.
Former Giants Facing their Old Team
We already looked at it in depth in another article, so I won't rehash it all here, but Colts running back Ahmad Bradshaw and wide receiver Hakeem Nicks are both facing their former Giants team for the first time in the regular season tonight. Both were big contributors for years in New York and now are with Indianapolis - where Bradshaw is continuing to be a huge piece of their offense. They return to Metlife Stadium to face the Giants tonight, and that storyline is something to watch for sure.
Because when don't you want to watch the league's leading passer? And what would a Colts' "what to watch for" be without their star player?
"We're on to the Giants"
When asked a question about the Steelers game last Thursday, Chuck Pagano said that, "we're on to the Giants." Regardless of the outcome of a game teams try to move on quickly to the next opponent, but in reality that desire is much stronger after a loss than after a win. The Colts are ready to move on from their 51-34 loss last Sunday, and they've been very good following losses in the Chuck Pagano era. In fact, they are 11-1 following losses, with the only back-to-back losses coming in weeks one and two this year. The Colts lost last week and they look to continue their very strong streak of rebounding after a defeat. It won't be easy, however, and it will definitely be something to keep an eye on - how are the Colts rebounding from last week's performance?
These are five things we'll be keeping an eye on - what are you looking forward to watching tonight?