Posted 08/19/2008 at 03:23 PM
Although both are expected to be fine and by the time the season starts it may be a complete non-issue, there should be some concern with the health of Peyton Manning and Tom Brady. The Colts and Patriots have been the dominant teams in the NFL for much of the last decade and every year they seem to be locks for the playoffs and Super Bowl contenders. There is no question though that both teams are incredibly dependent on their star quarterbacks and if either would miss time it would be severely detrimental to the team's chances to win.
Peyton Manning had minor knee surgery this summer and though it was a common procedure and he should be ready to go, it is unlikely he will get in his normal practice and preseason snaps before the regular season. Injuries are a huge issue for the Colts in general with Marvin Harrison, Dwight Freeney, and Bob Sanders all working back to playing shape and still question marks at this point. The Colts might be able to get by the Bears at home to open the season with an incomplete team but Minnesota and Jacksonville are the next two games and any missing stars or rusty players could be a problem.
Another issue for the Colts this year is brand new stadium in Indianapolis. The Colts enjoyed a thorough home field advantage in recent years and the stadium suited their style of play perfectly. Obviously the construction came with the team's best interests in mind but it could take some time to make the adjustments to the new field and surroundings.
Talk of the boot around Tom Brady's foot dominated Super Bowl coverage and again Brady is battling an ankle injury although it is claimed to be a different unrelated issue. All reports indicate that the measures are all precautionary but still there has to be some concern for injuries as Brady gets older. The Giants also offered a blueprint for success against New England in the Super Bowl so teams will be bringing as much pressure as they can at Brady and he will likely hit the ground a bit more often this season.
These developments could prove meaningless once the season starts but there should be some optimism for teams like Jacksonville, San Diego, Pittsburgh, and even the New York Jets as the AFC may provide a bit more balance this season as the two elite teams could have some health issues with their star signal-callers at some point this season.