SNF - Broncos at Colts
October 18, 2013
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DENVER BRONCOS (6-0 SU, 3-3 ATS) at INDIANAPOLIS COLTS (4-2 SU, 3-3 ATS)
Sportsbook.ag Line & Total: Denver -7 & 57
Opening Line & Total: Broncos -7 & 57
Peyton Manning returns to Indianapolis Sunday night where his Broncos look to stay perfect when they take on Andrew Luck and the Colts.
Denver heads into this showdown after defeating the Jaguars only 35-19 despite being four touchdown favorites. The Colts, on the other hand, snapped a three-game win streak when they came up short in San Diego on Monday night, losing 19-9 to the Chargers.
Despite failing to cover against Jacksonville, The Broncos 3-2-1 ATS this season with all six games finishing Over the total. Indianapolis is 3-3 ATS, with the Under going 2-4 in those contests. The Colts have prevailed (SU and ATS) in five straight meetings with Denver, winning these contests by 14.4 PPG, but that should be taken with a grain of salt as Peyton Manning is now a member of the Broncos.
The last game between these two teams was played in 2010 where Indy prevailed 27-13 at home. Since becoming the coach of Denver, John Fox is 14-8 ATS (64%) as a favorite, including 10-2 ATS (83%) when favored by between 3.5 and 9.5 points. But in the past two seasons, the Colts are 7-0 ATS in home games after the first month of the season and 6-0 ATS when following an SU loss.
Both teams could be getting key defensive players back on the field for this one with Broncos star LB Von Miller (suspension) and Indianapolis S LaRon Landry (ankle) both expected to play.
Denver was expected to completely blow out the Jaguars, but somewhat struggled in the game as it ended up winning by 16. Peyton Manning’s worst game of the season was as good as many quarterbacks’ best efforts as he finished with 295 yards (6.9 YPA), two touchdowns and one interception. However, he still has thrown for 2,179 yards (363 YPG, 9.1 YPA), 22 TD and 2 INT this season. RB Knowshon Moreno rushed for just 42 yards, but tallied three touchdowns in the victory. Moreno now has 373 yards on 4.7 YPC and seven touchdowns on the year. WR Wes Welker added six catches for 63 yards and a touchdown, which gives him an NFL-high eight scores on the year. He has been one of Manning’s favorite targets in the red zone this season along with TE Julius Thomas who has seven touchdowns himself. But not to be forgotten are WR Demaryius Thomas (team-high 528 receiving yards) and WR Eric Decker, who is second on the team with 477 receiving yards.
Although Denver’s defense picked off Chad Henne twice last game, this is still the worst passing defense in the league, allowing the Jags to roll up 303 passing yards which actually lowered their NFL-worst 337.7 passing YPG allowed on 8.1 yards per attempt (3rd-most in NFL) this year. They will need to be much more improved on Sunday night going against Andrew Luck, and they hope the addition of pass-rushing star LB Von Miller (30 sacks in 31 career games) can pressure Luck into some poor throws. But as bad as the secondary has played, the Broncos, do have the league’s best rushing defense, giving up a league-low 69.8 rushing YPG with 3.15 YPC (2nd in NFL). This run stuffing should continue against a Colts team that rushed for a season-low 74 yards against the Chargers.
Indianapolis is coming off of a disappointing loss to the Chargers on Monday in which they were favored in the game, but possessed the football for only 21:29. QB Andrew Luck was unable to throw for a touchdown and went 18-of-30 for 202 yards (6.7 YPA) and 1 INT. He should fare better against the worst passing defense in the NFL. The same cannot be said for the running back tandem of Trent Richardson (3.1 YPC this year) and Donald Brown (NFL-best 7.8 YPC this year), who will be facing the best run-stopping defense in the league. Last week they combined for 55 yards on 13 carries (4.2 YPC) but didn't do much as the Chargers were on the field so long. But the team has missed RB Ahmad Bradshaw (4.5 YPC, 2 TD), who is out for the year with a neck injury. WR Reggie Wayne was the only player who showed up offense for Indianapolis last week, catching five passes for 88 yards. He was the only Colts player to surpass 55 yards from scrimmage on the day. Wayne now has 33 receptions for 453 yards and two touchdowns this season.
The Colts defense played well in the game, making timely stops in the red zone. They didn’t cause any turnovers, but they did sack Philip Rivers twice. Indianapolis owns the league’s fifth best passing defense, allowing just 205.7 yards per game, but its run defense has been steamrolled all season, surrendering 132.0 rushing YPG, which is the second-most in the league. Indy has also shined on third-down defense (35.5%, 7th-best in NFL), which is a big reason it ranks fifth in the league in scoring defense (16.3 PPG allowed). The problem for the Colts is they now face a Denver offense leads the NFL in total offense (476 YPG), passing offense (361 YPG), scoring offense (44.2 PPG), red-zone efficiency (82.1%) and third-down conversion rate (57.5%). They will certainly have their work cut out for them in this one.