SNF Preview: Indianapolis Colts vs. Arizona Cardinals
By Scott Allen
First appearance for the Arizona Cardinals in the regular season on NBC’s Sunday Night Football. First time the Indianapolis Colts have visited Arizona since 1990 and their first trip to University of Phoenix Stadium. This will not be the first time I will mention Colts quarterback Peyton Manning and his hand signals.
The Cardinals (1-1) host the Colts (2-0) at 5:20pm in a game that has been deemed a sell out and no blackout. It might be the last non-blackout of the season. For now though, let’s talk about this one.
Much as been made about two things this week. First, the hand signals of Peyton Manning. Why has it been talked about so much? I’ve got to believe it’s because we don’t see the Colts that often. It’s really much a do about nothing as far as I’m concerned. In an interview with KTAR the other day, former coach and current analyst for NBC, Tony Dungy, said the defense should not focus on the signals. You never know which signals are live and which are dummy and if you spend too much time thinking about it, you could get burned. I agree. We all know Peyton Manning has his uniqueness to him with his play calling. Any intelligent person is going to know not all those signals are live signals. The trick is not to focus on it too much. Many defenses in the past have been burned in the past.
The second thing talked about this week, and something I even tweeted about this week, is the defense and how tired they may be after spending over 45 minutes on the field on Monday night against the Miami Dolphins. I asked the question like many others, would they be tired, especially on a short week? fter thnking about it, I don’t think so. It’ll have been six days since the game and they are professionals and they got rest! Ok, so enough about the defense. It was a nice thought early in the week to think that might be one advantage the Cards would have, but seriously, enough.
Matchup of the game: I’ve read several people making their matchups of the game Kurt Warner vs. Peyton Manning. That’s all nice and fine. You certainly could compare the two. They have both won Super Bowls, they are both MVP’s, they are both pro-bolwers. However, they don’t play against each other head to head. The matchup I’m most interested in is Peyton Manning vs. the Arizona Cardinals secondary. Manning is throwing the ball for an average 294.5 yards per game, 3rd best in the NFL. The Cardinals are ranked 18th in the NFL, allowing 231 yards per game. They’ve been known to be torched for long plays in the past. Just look at how Indy opened their last game against Miami, first play 80 yard TD from Manning to tight end Dallas Clark. Enough said. Cards secondary needs to be focused and ready to play.
On the flip side of things, it’s almost as equally as interesting. The Colts pass defense is the best in the NFL, giving up only 139 yards per game and the Cards passing game is 7th in the NFL, gaining 262 yards per game. However, let’s keep this in mind, these teams already have a common opponent after just two weeks – the Jacksonville Jaguars. The Jags, as we know, aren’t very good, although the Jags gave the Colts a much closer game in Indy and than they did at home last week at home against the Cards.
So what does it all mean? I have no idea. That’s why they play the games. We’ll find a lot out about both of these teams come Sunday night. I think Arizona pulls it out 27-24.