How the New York Giants can attack the Colts’ struggling defense

daniel jones, new york giants
Dec 24, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones (8) runs the ball against the Minnesota Vikings during the second quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Giants have an opportunity to clinch a playoff berth for the first time since 2016 with a win this Sunday. Big Blue will host the Indianapolis Colts in Week 17, who will be playing on a short week after getting embarrassed on Monday Night Football. The Colts are on a five-game losing streak and own a 4-10-1 record. Among the many problems that Indianapolis has been dealing with this season, the performance of their defense has been one of their primary struggles. The Giants can attack the Colts’ defense in a multitude of ways to earn their much-needed victory this Sunday.

How the Giants can pick apart the Colts’ defense

The Indianapolis Colts are allowing 23.8 points per game this season, the 24th-worst in the NFL. Indianapolis has surrendered at least 20 points in each of their last four games, including a 54-point outing from Dallas in Week 13 and a 39-point outing from Minnesota in Week 15. The Giants have an opportunity to take advantage of the Colts’ defense and put some big numbers up on the scoreboard.

The New York Giants have yet to score 30 points in a single game this season. But as Saquon Barkley and the offense gear up for the postseason, head coach Brian Daboll could implore a more aggressive, high-scoring game plan. Daniel Jones threw a season-high 42 pass attempts in the Giants’ Week 16 loss to the Vikings. The Colts’ pass defense, however, is quite solid, as they are allowing only 206.1 passing yards per game this season. Saquon Barkley could be in line for a big game, though, as Indianapolis is allowing 122.2 rushing yards per game.

The New York Giants do need to be wary of the Colts’ pass rush, though. Indianapolis has racked up 43.0 sacks this season, the sixth-most out of any team in the NFL. Andrew Thomas has been stellar all year long, protecting Daniel Jones’s blindside. But outside of Thomas, the Giants’ offensive line has struggled all season. Second-year pass-rusher Dayo Odeyingbo has emerged onto the season for the Colts this season. The Brooklyn native has recorded 3.5 sacks over the last two games. Preparing to face a Colts defense that excels in pass-rushing, the Giants will likely opt for a more run-centric approach on Sunday.

“I mean, I feel like I’ve just been growing in confidence,” Odeyingbo said. “I started last year coming off an injury, so just over time I’ve been building confidence in the game and just believing in myself more.”

Dayo Odeyingbo on his breakout 2022 campaign, via Colts.com

Saquon Barkley was selected to the Pro Bowl Games for the second time in his career this season. The 2018 Offensive Rookie of the Year has rushed for 1,254 and 10 touchdowns on a career-high 283 carries this season. Saquon has also added 343 receiving yards on 55 receptions this year. His primary opponent this Sunday will be Zaire Franklin, the Indianapolis Colts’ fifth-year starting inside linebacker. Franklin has been a liability in coverage this year, surrendering 428 receiving yards, and allowing 51 of the 65 passes targeted against him (78%) to be completed. As the Giants look to run their offense through Saquon Barkley, they have an opportunity to get him heavily involved in the passing game.