I would have called this 'Five Things To Watch,' but I came up with six. Since I figured you guys are smart enough to figure that my math would be off, it's just 'What To Watch Sunday.'
Thing is, there are a lot of intriguing things about this football game. The fact that Eli Manning and Peyton Manning are both playing is cool, but since they don't technically face each other they aren't on my list. Anyway, here goes. Let me know what, if anything, else has piqued your curiosity.
David Diehl vs. Dwight Freeney -- We all know that Diehl has difficulty with speed rushers, and Freeey is one of the premiere ones in the game. The five-time Pro Bowler and three-time All Pro presents a huge challenge for Diehl and the Giants. To win what might be a shootout, the Giants have got to keep Freeney off Eli's back.
Giants defensive line vs. Colts offensive line -- All week we have been hearing about how poorly the Indianapolis offensive line played in Week 1. Conversely, we know how well the Giants defensive line played. On paper, the Giants have a huge advantage here. Now it's up to Justin Tuck, Osi Umenyiora, Mathias Kiwanuka and Co. to turn that paper advantage into reality and turn up the heat on Peyton Manning. They have to, or it will be a looooong day.
Peyton Manning vs. Jonathan Goff -- Seems like a mismatch to put those two names together, doesn't it? The Giants need Goff, who calls their signals, to be able to decipher Manning's intentions and get the defense lined up corrently. Ernie Palladino wrote earlier this week that Goff needs to "pass on the baloney," or ignore a lot of Manning's dummy calls and gesticulations. Giants defensive coordinator Perry Fewell is looking forward to seeing how Goff, a Vanderbilt grad, handles the job.
"Our linebacker is the quarterback," Fewell said. "So, can our quarterback match wits with their quarterback, and can we put him in the situations that he can get us in the right defenses that we can move properly and show Peyton certain things that we want him to see or that we don't want him to see. So, yes, Goff will be involved in that match also, no doubt about it."
Can the Giants handle Dallas Clark? -- We have seen it way too many times. And by "it" I mean opposing tight ends running wild in the middle of the field against the Giants defense. The Giants have got to find a way to keep Clark under control. The job might fall to one of the linebackers, most likely Michael Boley, or one of the three safeties the Giants like to employ. Likely, it will be a combination. I don't really care how they do it, as long as they keep Clark from dominating in the middle.
Giants special teams -- This is your 'broken record' item of the week. Can the Giants miraculously discover the secret to covering kickoffs? Can punter Matt Dodge remember to use a ball that actually has air in it so it goes more than five feet off the ground and travels more than 30 yards? Can the Giants remember that they are supposed to block the opposition when they are trying to kick? If the Giants give Peyton Manning and the Colts the kind of field position they gift-wrapped for Carolina last week it won't matter how well Goff or the defensive line play. They will wind up surrendering 40+ points.
- Can the Giants run the football? -- Another item that we have heard a lot about all week is how porous the Indianapolis run defense was last week, when unknown Arian Foster shredded the Colts for 231 yards rushing. The Giants ran the ball better in the second half last week, and this week would be a good time for the running game to find its legs for four full quarters. The ability to do so makes the offense more versatile, and the more the Giants can run the less time Peyton Manning spends on the field.