This week’s matchup between the Indianapolis Colts and the Denver Broncos sees the league’s best passing attack face off against one of the better secondaries in the NFL. The Broncos will be playing with a heavy heart after the sudden death of WR Kenny McKinley earlier this week, so expect some extra incentive and emotion from the Broncos in this one. However, they’ll be hard pressed to slow down the Colts offense, as Manning and co. got back on track with a dominating victory over the New York Football Giants last week. But the Broncos can stop the ball through the air, ranking 11th and boasting one of the best shut down corners in the league in Champ Bailey. Not much has to be said about the Colts passing attack. They’re the most efficient and potent in the league. Manning’s ability to read the defense and change the play at the line puts them one step ahead of their opponent every time. The best way to stop Manning is to keep him off the field, and that’s what Denver will have to do this week if they have hopes of extending their record to 2-1.
The Broncos offense is performing at a top 10 level through 2 weeks, averaging 24 points per game. This week, their game plan will be to sustain long drives and attack the Colts on the ground. However that’ll be hard to do without starting RB Knowshon Moreno who’s been ruled out of this game after a hamstring pull in Fridays practice. Moreno gained 118 yards from scrimmage versus the Seahawks in a 31-14 victory last Sunday, and he’ll be missed in this one. So with that news, Denver switches around a few letters in Moreno’s name, and enter Laurence Maroney. The former New England back looks to get the majority of snaps versus the Colts, with Correll Buckhalter serving as his backup. The Broncos dominated the time of possession last week, maintaining the football for over 37 minutes, versus Seatle’s 22. They called a close split in plays, (38 running plays to 35 passing), but with Maroney having not shown any durability since his 2006 rookie, year look for the passing attack to take over.
Broncos QB Kyle Orton, who’s often overly criticized for not being the flashiest guy under centre, is quietly one of the best game managers in the league. This Sunday he’ll have a handful of receivers to choose from when moving the chains. Rookie wide-out Demaryius Thomas put up some nice numbers against Seatle, catching 8 balls for 97 yards and a TD. Along with Eddie Royal, Jabar Gaffney and Brandon Lloyd, look for the Broncos receivers to have an impact.
The Colts pass defense has been very good through 2 games, but their run defense has been poor. We know what happened in week 1 versus Arian Foster, but last week they gave up 120 yards on the ground to the Giants, a team that boasts an average running attack at best. But the Colts poor run D in recent years has usually come against bigger backs that run through the Colts smaller linebackers when they break into the second level. Maroney, although not a small back, is not an every down back who can break tackles. The Colts smaller linebackers should find it easier to stop him than they did with the larger Foster and the niftier Bradshaw in the previous weeks.
Colts vs Broncos Spread, Line and Betting Odds:
Indianapolis Colts – 5.5
@ Denver Broncos +5.5
Indianapolis Colts (-250)
@ Denver Broncos (+210)
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Colts vs Broncos Predictions for Betting Week 3 Game:
Spread Prediction (Top Play): The Colts are concerned with one thing and one thing only, and that’s winning. They’re one of the few teams in the league who don’t lose points for playing on the road, as their preparation and business like attitude is second to none. Manning particularly doesn’t care about personal stats or by how much his team wins by; he’ll call 50 running plays if that’s what it takes to win on a given week. This game will be emotional for the Broncos, and I expect them to get a lift from their fans and try and keep the crowd noise high when on defense. But I don’t think they’re given enough points in this one. If they stick to their game plan and execute it, they’ve got a good chance of winning, but that’ll take a hell of a game from Orton. What the Texans did to the Colts in week 1 was made possible because of the highly talented Texans offense, and unfortunately the Broncos don’t possess the same amount of talent as Houston do. I like the Colts minus the points here. I see a close game, but at the end of the day the Colts should take it by a touchdown.
Game Total Prediction: Both teams will be trying to keep possession and sustain long drives. It’s in the Colts best interest to keep their offense on the field as long as possible while picking up points along the way, and they’ll try to wear out the Broncos defense. On the flip side, the Broncos will be looking to keep Manning off the field. I like the under here. The Colts play very well on the road and they take the crowd out of the game by executing. The under is the right play here, as there won’t be enough time on the clock for the total to hit the number. Take the under. Prediction = UNDER 48 points
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