INDIANAPOLIS – You asked them and we answered them.
Here's "Four-Down Friday" which is a weekly Twitter Q and A piece that will run every Friday.
This week's installment of questions focuses on the Colts defense, getting Hakeem Nicks more involved and the health of starters Vontae Davis/Reggie Wayne.
This is the million-dollar question heading into Monday night. One week the Colts are setting NFL records with eight straight three-and-outs and orchestrating their first shutout in six seasons. The next, Pittsburgh is scoring 51 points and piling up more than 600 yards of total offense.
I do think the defense is much closer to the Bengals game than what we saw in Pittsburgh. The Steelers got into some advantageous situations on third down, a major reason why they were 8-of-13 (the Colts defense is No. 1 in the league in third-down conversions allowed). The pass rush has to get back to what we saw during the five-game winning streak and that will be something to watch with the uncertainty of Erik Walden. Also, don't be surprised if the Giants take a few deep shots in the passing game on Monday night in an effort to try and spark the offense. I expect the Colts defense to head into the bye week playing like the unit we've seen for a majority of 2014.
Another popular question as Nicks returns to take on his former team this week. Nicks has 38 targets this season (tied for the third most on the team) but his 18 receptions are just tied for sixth on the team.
Chuck Pagano said it best this week—"there's only one ball to go around." The Colts are the only team in the NFL with eight players having at least 15 receptions in 2014, an indication of how much Andrew Luck has spread the ball through all different skill groups. It will be interesting to see on Monday what Nicks' role is depending on the health of Reggie Wayne and then the emergence of Donte Moncrief.
The best news on the Colts injury report from Thursday came with Davis being listed as a full participant. That is clearly a good sign for Davis after he didn't even play 20 snaps on Sunday against the Steelers.
Chuck Pagano said after Thursday's practice that Davis is 100 percent and ready to go this week. Having Davis back in the secondary is obviously a benefit to the Colts defense but it could play an even bigger role this weekend. Giants GM Jerry Reese has talked about the need to be more aggressive offensively (Eli Manning is just 2-of-16 on passes over 20 yards). Davis' return would negate some of that.
This one is a little harder to dissect. At the time of this being published, the Colts still have two more practices remaining before departing for New York. Wayne had a rest day on Thursday and Chuck Pagano said that he needed to see No. 87 on the practice field before making a firm conjecture about his availability for Monday night.
It was clear near the end of the Bengals game that the elbow injury was affecting Wayne. Therefore, Pagano has to see how much Wayne has recovered from the injury that's nearly two weeks old. The injury report the next two days will offer a much, much clearer indication of Wayne's odds for Monday night.