Clash of the titans edition:
Don’t know if anyone noticed, but the Denver Broncos have the third ranked defense in the NFL. The Indianapolis Colts have the fourth ranked offense, where they really come neck and neck is in passing, Broncos rank second in passing defense and the Colts first on offense. I’ll omit any popcorn references and just go ahead and say that this is going to be some good football on Sunday.
Staying with the idea, the Colts haven’t been the greatest at running the ball, so I’d expect them to give it a go at home against the Broncos. Eventually, the Colts will most likely start on defense (how many times has Denver lost a coin toss this season, think it’s time to let someone else call heads in that circle gentlemen), so the Broncos will need to score in their first drive. Consuming time and avoiding a three and out at all costs, statistically it’s just as easy to pass on the Colts defense as it is to run on them. Where it gets difficult on teams is scoring against the Colts (they rank 2nd in the NFL in points against). So start Matt Prater in your fantasy football playoffs this weekend.
Peyton Manning has had a good time making the Broncos secondary look like amateurs in previous seasons, that may be part of the reason Mike Shanahan signed Brandon Stokley. Watching Champ Bailey line up against Reggie Wayne instead of Marvin Harrison will be a great thing, the Colts number two receiver Anthony Gonzalez has been out the entire season, but sophomore Pierre Garcon has filled in quite nicely. Garcon is on his way to a 1,000-yard season averaging 16+ yards per catch so far. Dallas Clark is where the Broncos will face the biggest challenge, in a zone/man zone he thrives and can pick the Denver D apart.
Historically Manning throws at least one interception versus a Mike Nolan coached defense. He generally doesn’t throw too many touchdowns either as Frank Shwab pointed out today in his blog at The Gazette. If we’re going to talk about coordinators, we’ve got to bring up Colts defensive coordinator Larry Coyer (the man who pulled the trigger on drafting Elvis Dumervil), he knows a few of our defensive players (well three of them, but they’re good, hah!) and could expose the fact that Champ Bailey favors his left knee when he’s planning to pick six or that Dumervil generally twitches his thumbs if he’s about to give a QB something that will require stitches. We’ve also got to bring in a former coordinator who has game planned against the Colts defense with a lot more on the line than just a playoff berth, Josh McDaniels. He’s been a part of a team that has ruined an undefeated record or two.
Really couldn’t be more hyped about a game, comes at a perfect time in the season and there’s a lot of risk on both sides of the ball. Hopefully Kyle Orton can remain undefeated in Lucas Oil Stadium and the Broncos can get a little more breathing room in our playoff bid.