In each of the last two years, Andrew Luck faced off with Peyton Manning in some of the most ballyhooed (and enjoyable) games of their respective seasons. Luck gets his chance at the younger Manning brother when his Indianapolis Colts take on the New York Giants.
The Colts began the season off slow, dropping their first two games behind the frustrating offensive game plan of Pep Hamilton. While some elements of that approach remain (Trent Richardson still receives more carries than the far superior Ahmad Bradshaw), the offense has taken off behind the transcendent play of Luck. And for much of the season, the Colts' defense has stepped up, holding opponents to 17 points or less four times.
Likewise, the Giants didn't rush out of the gate. Due in large part to the slow installation of Ben McAdoo's West Coast scheme, New York looked lost offensively in its first two games. The offense picked up steam soon after as Eli Manning and the Giants went off for 30 points or more for three straight weeks. Though the team lost each of its last two games, it remains in the hunt for the playoffs.
NFL Week 9
NFL Week 9
In his third year, Luck has come into his own as a quarterback. While he still makes his fair share of bad decisions as exemplified by his nine interceptions, Luck led the NFL in touchdown passes heading into Week 9 with 22. He also topped the league in passing yards with 2,731. The primary beneficiary has been T.Y. Hilton, a speedy, undersized wideout who has registered a league-leading 866 receiving yards.
Larry Donnell, who sits just 5 receiving yards behind the injured Victor Cruz for most on the team.is off to one of the best starts of his career. Though only a career 58.8-percent passer, Manning is completing passes at a clip of 64.9 percent this year, the best mark of his career. He's also throwing far few interceptions (five) and more touchdowns (14) through half a season than he has at any point as a professional. The Giants' leading healthy pass catcher is
Who to watch
Ahmad Bradshaw - Though Richardson remains the starter in Indianapolis, Bradshaw has definitely separated himself as the Colts top back. He leads the team, averaging 4.9 yards per carry and is on pace for 12 receiving touchdowns, the most by a running back in NFL history.
Odell Beckham Jr. - Despite missing the first four games of the season, Beckham has made quite the impact on the Giants offense. Since returning from injury, Beckham is averaging a touchdown a game. More importantly, his presence stretches opposing defenses and opens things up underneath for the tight ends led by Donnell.
How to watch
Where: MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, NJ
When: 8:30 p.m. ET
Announcers: Mike Tirico, Jon Gruden
One of the NFL's newest and most modern arenas, MetLife Stadium opened in 2010 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. It services both of New Yorks football teams, the Giants and Jets. Earlier in 2014, it played host to Super Bowl XLVIII. For football games, MetLife Stadium holds 82,566 people.
The Colts are 3-point favorites according to OddsShark.
Most of the experts are siding with Vegas and predicting that the Colts will get back on track with a win. SB Nation's panel gives a slight edge to Indy, with four of seven taking the road team. ESPN and CBS Sports have more confidence in the Colts -- ESPN has seven of its nine experts taking Indianapolis, and CBS has only two experts picking the Giants in an upset.