NFL bettors have a treat waiting for them to end the weekend when the Manning Brothers, Eli and Peyton, go head-to-head in the Sunday Night prime time contest.
The sky is falling. Good thing Lucas Oil Stadium has a roof.
The 2009 Indianapolis Colts were a special football club. They won the first 14 games of the regular season (10-3-1 ATS), rested their starters the last two weeks, and cruised all the way to the Super Bowl before losing to the New Orleans Saints. Not the happy ending they were looking for, but the Colts kicked off 2010 with plenty of optimism as 13-2 favorites to win Super Bowl XLV.
So much for optimism. Indianapolis lost its season opener 34-24 to the Houston Texans as a 1-point road favorite and fell to 8-1 on the Super Bowl betting odds list. The final score itself wasn’t that shocking, but it was the way the Colts lost that has their supporters in a foul mood.
Texans RB Arian Foster ran 33 times for 231 yards and three touchdowns, and while Indy QB Peyton Manning was putting up some impressive numbers of his own (40-of-57 passing, 433 yards, three TDs), the Colts were just 4-of-12 converting third downs. They had to punt five times as a result.
Having Peyton Manning on your team can compensate for a lot of faults. Last year’s Colts were horrible at run blocking; their defensive line ranked No. 29 out of the 32 NFL teams in stuffing the run last year, according to Football Outsiders. The Super Bowl champion Colts of 2006 finished No. 31 overall in run blocking efficiency. You can run on some NFL picks on these guys – especially when safety Bob Sanders is injured, which is most of the time. He’s out again with a torn biceps, perhaps for the season.
Even with the Texans running wild, Manning came close to stealing a win for Indianapolis. He could have used some more protection, though. Sharps are well aware of the problems the Colts’ offensive line has right now: Left tackle Charlie Johnson and center Jeff Saturday played hurt in Week 1, and the Colts waived left guard Tony Ugoh after he was lost for the year with a broken toe. The Texans easily breached the Indy line and knocked Manning down 11 times with a pair of sacks.
That’s the story for the Colts going into their Week 2 matchup against li’l brother Eli Manning and the New York Giants. New York’s defensive line is stacked with Osi Umenyiora, Justin Tuck and Mathias Kiwanuka, all very talented pass rushers.
Although the Giants finished No. 15 overall last year in pass rushing efficiency, they’re much healthier now and they have a new coordinator in Perry Fewell, who worked successfully with a 4-3 defense in Buffalo. Fewell’s defense picked off QB Matt Moore three times in New York’s season opening 31-18 victory over the Carolina Panthers (+5½). The Giants also forced three fumbles (recovering two) and knocked Moore out of the game late in the fourth quarter, one of four sacks on the day for the G-Men.
Mannings vs Saints Top Betting Action is at Bodog.com
Defense will give the Giants a chance to win this game. The question is whether the offense will take it. Manning is just as good as his older brother sometimes, and Week 1 was not one of those times. He went 20-of-30 for 263 yards and three touchdowns (all to WR Hakeem Nicks), but also chucked three interceptions. The running game finished the day at 3.3 yards per carry (36 carries, 118 yards). It was as sloppy a win by the Giants as the numbers suggest, no question.
But it was still a win. If the Giants can do it again Sunday night (8:20 p.m. ET, NBC), they’ll pay out at between +190 and +210, depending on where you shop. The betting odds at press time had the Colts laying 5½ points with a total of 48½. The 'over' cashed in for both these teams in Week 1, a week when the 'under' was killing it at 10-5-1. Those Manning boys do have a way of putting points on the board.