Indianapolis Colts vs Denver Broncos: Broncos looking for second win to open up the season
Indianapolis Colts vs Denver Broncos: Broncos looking for second win to open up the season

Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts (0-1) travel to Sports Authority Field at Mile High to take on Von Miller and the Denver Broncos (1-0) in a week two AFC matchup.

For the first time since 1993 the Colts and Broncos will meet without Peyton Manning at quarterback for one of the two teams.

The Colts come in with a proven passing game led by the game's highest paid player  (Luck) and a suspect defense.  The Broncos will counter with a dominant defense, an inexperienced quarterback (Trevor Siemian), and a running game that has gotten off to a hot start.

Colts defense struggled in opener

The Colts enter week two searching for their first win of the 2016 campaign after suffering a 39-35 loss at home in a shootout with the Detroit Lions.  

Following a touchdown drive by the Lions with 4:04 remaining in the fourth quarter, Matt Prater missed on the extra point that would have given Detroit a 7-point lead.

Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck (#12) and wide receiver Jack Doyle (#84) celebrate after a fourth quarter touchdown in week one versus the Detroit Lions.  (Photo:  Getty Images
Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck (#12) and wide receiver Jack Doyle (#84) celebrate after a fourth quarter touchdown in week one versus the Detroit Lions. (Photo: Getty Images

Down 34-28, Luck (385 yards passing and four touchdowns) drove the Colts offense 75 yards for the go ahead touchdown. With their opening day win seemingly secured, the Colts defense continued to find difficulty stopping Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford.  

With 0:37 remaining on the clock, Stafford moved the Lions from their own 25 yard line to the Colts 25 in just three plays. Prater redeemed himself with the winning field goal to give the Lions a rare win over the Colts.

Broncos pull out another close win

The Broncos picked up right where they left off the 2015 regular season, winning nail bitters. This time it was a missed 50-yard field goal by kicker Graham Gano with four seconds remaining that allowed the Broncos to secure a 21-20 win at home. Siemian made the first start of his NFL career and completed 18 of 26 for 178 yards, and his first NFL touchdown that was a 27-yard completion to running back C.J. Anderson.

Denver Broncos running back C.J. Anderson (#22) rushed for 94 yards and two touchdowns (one receiving) in Broncos victory over Carolina Panthers in week 1.  Photo: Getty Images.
Denver Broncos running back C.J. Anderson (#22) rushed for 94 yards and two touchdowns (one receiving) in Broncos victory over Carolina Panthers in week 1. Photo: Getty Images.

The Broncos struggled at times last season getting their running game involved in the offense.  Anderson and the running game began 2016 strong with a 148-yard performance against one of the league's top defenses with a ferocious front seven.

Anderson rushed for one touchdown, caught another, and rookie full back Andy Janovich ran in another from 28 yards out.

Linebacker DeMarcus Ware picked up 1.5 sacks while Super Bowl 50 MVP Von Miller recorded his first of the year with a fourth quarter sack of Cam Newton.

Luck solves Broncos over last three seasons with arm and toughness

Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck (#12) passed for 384 yards and four touchdowns versus Detroit Lions in week 1.  Photo:  Getty Images
Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck (#12) passed for 385 yards and four touchdowns versus Detroit Lions in week 1. Photo: Getty Images

Since their first meeting in 2013, Luck has owned the Broncos with a 3-1 record that includes a 24-13 divisional playoff win in January 2015.  The Colts spoiled Manning's homecoming in 2013 and knocked the 7-0 Broncos from the ranks of the unbeaten last season in what would be Peyton's last game in Indy.

Last season's matchup saw Luck take a physical beating by the Broncos defense, but stay in the game for a 27-24 victory.  It was revealed later that Luck suffered a lacerated kidney in the fourth quarter.

Keys to game

Broncos pass rush must finally keep Luck in check

The Broncos defense sports one of the top pass rushing duos (Miller and Ware) in the NFL.  Despite this they have been unable sack Luck more than once in their last two meetings.  Add the fact that the Colts offensive line is consistently one of the poorest lines in the league and you have heads scratching at the Broncos training facility.

The Denver Broncos are looking to linebacker Von Miller (#58) to apply maximum pressure against Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck in their week two matchup.  Photo:  Getty Images
The Denver Broncos are looking to linebacker Von Miller (#58) to apply maximum pressure against Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck in their week two matchup. Photo: Getty Images

One of the reasons for the lack of sacks is Luck's ability to get the ball of quickly.  If the Broncos are to get to Luck successfully they will need their secondary to play the Colts wide receivers tight, forcing Luck to second guess his throws and give the Denver pass rushers an added step to get to the quarterback.

Colts defensive secondary and pass rushers versus Trevor Siemian

Indianapolis Colts linebacker Robert Mathis hopes to be having a few sack dances in week two against the Denver Broncos.  Photo:  Getty Images
Indianapolis Colts linebacker Robert Mathis hopes to be having a few sack dances in week two against the Denver Broncos. Photo: Getty Images

The Colts will go into Sunday's game with the intention of shutting the Denver run game down and forcing the inexperienced Siemian to beat them downfield.  This will put the onus on a poor Colts secondary to cover wide outs Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders while a non-existent pass rush to this point keeps a mobile Siemian in the pocket and under consistent pressure.

Indianapolis Colts - Denver Broncos Capsule

Week 2 - 09/18/16

Time:  4:25 PM ET

TV:  CBS

Location:  Sports Authority Field at Mile High

Line:  Broncos -6 (Westgate Superbook)

Indianapolis Colts safety Mike Adams will have his hands full in the secondary against the Denver Broncos receiving corps during week two's matchup.  Photo:  Getty Images
Indianapolis Colts safety Mike Adams will have his hands full in the secondary against the Denver Broncos receiving corps during week two's matchup. Photo: Getty Images

2016 Record

Indianapolis Colts

Overall: 

0-1 (T-Last, AFC South)

Home: 0-1

Road: 0-0

Denver Broncos quarterback will be making his second NFL start versus the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday.  Photo:  Getty Images
Denver Broncos quarterback will be making his second NFL start versus the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday. Photo: Getty Images

Denver Broncos

Overall: 

1-0 (T-First, AFC West)

Home:  1-0

Road:  0-0

 

Last Met:

11/08/15 at Indianapolis:  Broncos 24  Colts 27. 

Starters:

Indianapolis Colts
Offense Position NFL Seasons
Donte Moncrief WR 3
Jack Doyle TE 4
Anthony Castonzo LT 6
Jack Mewhort LG 3
Ryan Kelly C R
Denzelle Good RG 2
Joe Reitz RT 6
Dwayne Allen TE 5
T.Y. Hilton WR 5
Andrew Luck QB 5
Frank Gore RB 12
Defense Position NFL Seasons
Kendall Langford DE 9
David Parry NT 2
Zach Kerr DT 3
Erik Walden OLB 9
D'Qwell Jackson ILB 11
Sio Moore ILB 4
Robert Mathis OLB 14
Patrick Robinson LCB 7
Mike Adams SS 13
Clayton Geathers FS 2
Vontae Davis RCB 8
Special Teams Position NFL Seasons
Pat McAfee P,H 8
Adam Vinatieri K 21
Matt Overton LS 5
Quan Bray PR, KR 2

Denver Broncos

Offense Position NFL Seasons
Demaryius Thomas WR 7
Russell Okung LT 11
Max Garcia LG 2
Matt Paradis C 2
Michael Schofield RG 3
Donald Stephenson RT 5
Virgil Green TE 6
Emmanuel Sanders WR 7
Trevor Siemian QB 2
C,J, Anderson RB 4
Andy Janovich FB R
Defense Position NFL Seasons
Derek Wolfe DE 5
Sylvester Williams NT 4
Jared Crick DE 5
Von Miller SLB 6
Brandon Marshall ILB 5
Todd Davis ILB 3
DeMarcus Ware WLB 12
Aqib Talib LCB 9
T.J. Ward SS 7
Darian Stewart FS 7
Chris Harris Jr. RCB 5
Special Teams Position NFL Seasons
Brandon McManus K 3
Riley Dixon P, H R
Casey Kreiter LS 2
Jordan Norwood PR 7
Cody Latimer KR 3

*Stats

2016 NFL Rankings (YPG)

  Colts Broncos
Total Offense 1st (450.0) 25th (307.0)
Passing 2nd (368.0) 29th (159.0)
Rushing 22nd (82.0) 6th (148.0)
Total Defense 29th (448.0) 14th (333.0)
Passing 30th (332.0) 7th (176.0)
Rushing 22nd (116.0) 31st (157.0)

Team Leaders

Passing C/ATT PCT ATT/G YDS AVG YDS/G Long TD INT Sacks Rating Rank
Andrew Luck 31/47 66.0 47.0 385 8.2 385.0 51 4 0 2 119.5 2nd
Trevor Siemian 18/26 69.2 26.0 178 6.8 178.0 25 1 2 2 69.1 29th
Rushing CAR CAR/G YDS AVG YDS/G Long TD Fum Rank      
Frank Gore 14 14.0 59 4.2 59.0 9 0 0 19th      
C,J. Anderson 20 20.0 92 4.6 92.0 28 1 0 4th      
Receiving REC YDS AVG YDS/G Long TD Rank          
T.Y. Hilton 6 79 13.2 79.0 32 0 T-21st          
E. Sanders 5 49 9.8 49.0 15 0 T-40th          
Tackles Pos. Total Solo Rank                
Sio Moore ILB 13 7 T-4th                
Todd Davis ILB 7 5 T-48th                
Sacks Pos. Total Rank                  
Erik Walden OLB 1.0 T-9th                  
DeMarcus Ware WLB 1.5 T-6th                  
Interceptions Total TD Rank                  
N/A 0 0 N/A                  
Chris Harris Jr. 1 0 T-1st                  

Standings

AFC South W     L     T PCT PF PA Home Road Div Conf Streak L5
Houston Texans 1      0     0 1.000 23 14 1-0 0-1 0-0 0-0 W1 1-0
Jacksonville Jaguars 0      1     0 .000 23 27 0-1 0-0 0-0 0-0 L1 0-1
Indianapolis Colts 0      1     0 .000 35 39 0-1 0-0 0-0 0-0 L1 0-1
Tennessee Titans 0      1     0 .000 16 25 0-1 0-0 0-0 0-0 L1 0-1
AFC West W     L     T PCT PF PA Home Road Div Conf Streak L5
Denver Broncos 1      0     0 1.000 21 20 1-0 0-0 0-0 0-0 W1 1-0
Kansas City Chiefs 1      0     0 1.000 33 27 1-0 0-0 1-0 1-0 W1 1-0
Oakland Raiders 1      0     0 1.000 35 34 0-0 1-0 0-0 0-0 W1 1-0
San Diego Chargers 0      1     0 .000 27 33 0-0 0-1 0-1 0-1 L1 0-1

*All stats via nfl.com

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