The 7-0 Denver Broncos are coming off their best performance of the season with a 29-10 conquest of the Green Bay Packers. The Broncos were finally able to get their offense going as they jumped out to a 14-0 lead, allowing their top-ranked defense to pin their ears back and play the game with the lead for the entire game.
The Broncos are playing the Indianapolis Colts for the first time since they were embarrassed at home 24-13 in the divisional round of the playoffs last January. A loss that convinced general manager John Elway to fire head coach John Fox and hire Gary Kubiak.
The Broncos head into the game with their confidence at a season-high. Their offense finally achieved the kind of performance they had been expecting since training camp. Defensively, the Broncos are playing at a level that has Colts head coach Chuck Pagan comparing them to the 2000 Baltimore Ravens.
The Colts are 3-5 with Andrew Luck struggling and a defense that ranks near the bottom of the league in all statistical categories.
In Week 8 Luck showed flashes of his old self in the fourth quarter against the Carolina Panthers. Down 17 points in the fourth quarter, the Colts tied the Panthers 26-26 before losing in overtime, 29-26.
Picked to go to the Super Bowl by many NFL analysts, the Colts find themselves in chaos on the field and in the front office. Offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton was fired during the week, replaced by Rob Chudzinski. Reports of tension between Pagano, general manager Ryan Grigson, and owner Jim Irsay continue to swirl.
The Broncos come into Week 9 in a three-way race for home-field advantage in the AFC. The 8-0 Cincinnati Bengals defeated the Cleveland Browns 31-10 on Thursday night. The 7-0 New England Patriots will host the 3-4 Washington Redskins on Sunday.
Week 9 - 11/08/15
Time: 4:25 PM ET
Location: Lucas Oil Stadium
Line: Broncos 5.5 (Westgate Superbook)
7-0 (1st, AFC West)
3-5 (T-1st, AFC South)
Head-To-Head Record (1974-Present)
Regular Season: Broncos lead 12-9
Playoffs: Colts Lead 3-0
At Indianapolis: Colts Lead 7-3
01/15/15 at Denver: Colts 24 Broncos 13 (AFC Divisional Round).
What to watch for as the Broncos take on the Colts:
Will the Broncos' Week 8 offense keep on rolling against the Colts?
The Manning/Kubiak hybrid offense finally produced results last week as the Broncos amassed 500 total yards against the Packers defense. The offense fired on all cylinders with a passing and rushing attack that resembled Denver's offenses of the past several years.
Manning (21/29, 340 yds) had his best game of the 2015 season as he picked apart Green Bay's secondary with throws in the middle of the field and deep along the sidelines, completing 81.3% of his passes over 10 yards.
The offensive line came together with their best effort so far as they punched holes in Green Bay's defensive line and held their blocks long enough for Ronnie Hillman and C.J. Anderson to execute Kubiak's system of making one-cut and running through the hole. Hillman and Anderson combined for 161 yards and three touchdowns.
Can the Broncos produce similar results in Week 9 against the defense of the Colts? The statistics say yes. It has been a struggle this season for the Colts' 30th ranked defensive unit. The defense ranks 27th against the pass, 28th against the run, 21st in scoring, 24th in yards per play, tied for 19th in turnovers, and tied for 27th in sacks. The Broncos will have every opportunity on Sunday to continue their offensive roll.
Peyton Manning looks to break all-time passing yards and wins records.
Manning returns to Indianapolis 284 yards shy of the all-time record in passing yards (Brett Favre-71,838) and one victory short of the all-time wins record (tied with Favre with 186 wins). The former Colts quarterback has a chance to break those records in front of the crowd that cheered him on for 14 seasons.
Welcome to Denver Vernon Davis.
The Broncos pulled off a deal with the San Francisco 49ers a day before the trade deadline to acquire Pro Bowl tight end Vernon Davis. The Broncos sent the 49ers their sixth-round picks in 2016 and 2017. Along with Davis, Denver received San Francisco's seventh-round pick in 2016.
Davis is considered one of the fastest tight ends in the NFL. The Broncos will utilize the speedy tight end to stretch the field and create gaps in the defense that will allow big completions downfield. Davis will also be a threat in the red zone, something the Broncos have missed from their tight end position since the departure of Julius Thomas to the Jacksonville Jaguars over the offseason.
|Chris Harris, Jr.||RCB||4|
|Special Teams||Position||NFL Seasons|
|Special Teams||Position||NFL Seasons|
|Pat Mcafee||P, H||7|
|Griff Whalen||KR, PR||4|
|Total Offense||17th (350.7)||16th (352.2)|
|Passing||12th (255.0)||13th (253.4)|
|Rushing||26th (95.7)||24th (98.9)|
|Total Defense||1st (261.1)||30th (404.9)|
|Passing||1st (171.9)||27th (280.0)|
|Rushing||4th (89.3)||28th (124.9)|
|Denver Broncos||Position||Injury||Game Status|
|Peyton Manning||QB||Right Shoulder||Probable|
|Indianapolis Colts||Position||Injury||Game Status|
*Stats via nfl.com
|AFC West||W L T||PCT||PF||PA||Home||Road||Div||Conf||Streak||L5|
|Denver Broncos||7 0 0||1.000||168||112||3-0||4-0||2-0||4-0||W7||5-0|
|Oakland Raiders||4 3 0||.571||178||173||2-2||2-1||1-1||4-2||W2||3-2|
|Kansas City Chiefs||3 5 0||.375||195||182||2-2||1-3||0-1||2-2||W2||2-3|
|San Diego Chargers||2 6 0||.250||191||227||2-2||0-4||0-1||1-4||L4||1-4|
|AFC South||W L T||PCT||PF||PA||Home||Road||Div||Conf||Streak||L5|
|Indianapolis Colts||3 5 0||.375||173||203||1-3||2-2||3-0||3-3||L3||2-3|
|Houston Texans||3 5 0||.375||174||205||2-2||1-3||2-1||2-3||W1||2-3|
|Jacksonville Jaguars||2 5 0||.286||147||207||2-2||0-3||0-2||2-3||W1||1-4|
|Tennessee Titans||1 6 0||.143||125||159||0-4||1-2||0-2||0-5||L6||0-5|