Can Saquon Barkley spoil the Colts’ playoff chances?

Russell S. Baxter

Can Saquon Barkley spoil the Colts’ playoff chances?

By Julie Voigt

Special to Pro Football Guru

Here’s the lowdown. Pro Football Guru occasional guest columnist Robert Voigt is more than just a typical football fan. It’s his religion. It’s his way of life.

It starts off with college football pregame shows early Saturday mornings. When it came to the early action on Saturdays, the top three games would make it onto his three televisions that have been set up in the family room.

Yes, three TVs. And the one game that would make it to the main set would be Penn State.

During the three seasons that running back Saquon Barkley played for the Nittany Lions, he was quickly a name in the Voigt household. If it wasn’t the nonstop cheers from the phenomenal plays by the talented performer, it would be that “Oh my gosh. Watch this play by Saquon!” later in the day courtesy of the DVR.

At Penn State, Barkley ran for 3,843 yards with 43 rushing touchdowns and also gathered 1,195 receiving yards with eight touchdown receptions. From that point on, I knew he would be a first-round draft pick. And sure enough, as he was drafted second overall in April. Welcome to the NY Giants.

He’s certainly among the candidates for NFL’s Rookie of the Year and was already named to this year’s Pro Bowl. Now it’s Week 16 of the 2018 regular season. And Barkley could be the one player that could put a crimp in the playoff plans of the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday.

With the news on Friday that Giants’ wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. will miss his third straight game with a quad injury, a bigger role could be in play for Barkley. Beckham’s absence means the Giants’ offense will be very limited against the 10th-ranked Colts’ defense. And the passing game has struggled as of late minus the services of OBJ.

This Sunday, the Giants will make their first appearance at Indianapolis since Super Bowl XLVI. And although Pat Shurmur’s club is officially eliminated from playoff contention, you can bet they have every intention of trying to spoil the postseason plans of Frank Reich’s squad. The Colts’ offense should not have any issues with moving the ball, especially with center Ryan Kelly back in the mix along with the possibility of right guard returning this weekend. New York’s defense ranks 28th in the NFL against the run. Hello Marlon Mack?

Meanwhile, only seven teams in the league are allowing fewer rushing yards per game than Indianapolis. Standouts such as Darius Leonard, Denico Autry, Margus Hunt and company will try and slow down Barkley, who ranks third in the NFL with 1,809 yards from scrimmage.

It figures to be an interesting encounter on Sunday. And it’s safe to say that it also figures to be the first time in four years that Robert Voigt won’t have a lot to say if the phenomenal Barkley has another huge outing.

Julie Voigt (@JulieNoted_NFL) is the co-founder of @NFL_VIBE and also the Colts’ reporter for OurTurf Football. She is also the host of Jewel’s Colts Corner on the For the Fan NFL Podcast.

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