As we discussed on Thursday, there's going to be plenty of attention paid to the Manning family during Sunday night's game between the Colts and Giants. But, as we also discussed, there are going to be plenty of other people who have a say in who winds up winning the game even while Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth are doing their best to make the entire night a celebration of Archie Manning's spawn.
Identifying those things won't be particularly hard during the game, but we thought it would be a good idea to throw some of them on the table right now so that you'll be able to stay awake when the discussion of the large-headed Colt and his younger brother gets particularly taxing.
1. No-Huddle vs. 15 Defensive Starters - Tom Coughlin has been making a big deal about the Giants having 15 defensive starters in the wake of the opening game because of the way Perry Fewell rotates players in and out of the lineup. It worked like a charm against the Panthers, but the Colts could have a field day neutralizing the Giants depth by rolling out the no-huddle and making it difficult to sub in different players for different situations. If that happens, the Giants could find themselves exposed because some of their packages -- four defensive ends or jumbo linemen, for example -- aren't well suited for every down.
2. Evolution of the Giants Offense - The Giants running game wasn't terrific in Week One, but it did provide another dose of evidence that the best thing for the team is letting Ahmad Bradshaw do the heavy lifting while Brandon Jacobs sits on the bench. The Giants like to think they are a blue-collar, lunchpail offense, but Bradshaw and Eli team up to make them a far more interesting and dangerous group. We'll see if Coughlin is willing to allow that to happen because he seems resistant to what is obvious.
3. Putting the Special in Special Teams - It would have been silly to think that Matt Dodge was going to walk into the NFL and be as accomplished a punter as Jeff Feagles. It wasn't silly to expect that he'd be halfway competent, however. Dodge was awful in preseason and got worse during his regular season debut against the Panthers. The Giants can't afford to lose field position battles against any team, but losing them to the Colts would be particularly damning because Peyton Manning doesn't make a habit of allowing teams to survive such mishaps.