Date: Sunday, September 18, 2016
Start Time: 4:25 p.m. ET (1:25 p.m. PT)
Location: Denver, CO
TV Channel: CBS
For the third straight season, the Indianapolis Colts dropped their season opener. This time, they lost to the Detroit Lions 39-35. Now, the team will try to pick up their first win on the road against the Denver Broncos.
This is the fifth time in four seasons these two teams will face off. The Colts have won three of those last four meetings; including a 24-13 win over the Broncos in the AFC Divisional Round in 2014.
In their most recent meeting, the Colts beat the Broncos 27-24 in Week 9 of 2015. However, the Broncos ended up lacerating Andrew Luck’s kidney. He missed the final seven games of the season due that injury.
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The Broncos went on to win Super Bowl 50, but that was last year. Now, this year’s Broncos look a little different from last year’s championship team.
The good news for the Colts is that Andrew Luck looks ready for a terrific 2016 campaign. Against the Lions Luck completed 31 of 47 passes for 385 passing yards and four touchdowns. He also did not throw an interception, which is something he did often in 2015.
Unfortunately, the franchise is still riddled with the same problems that plagued them last season. They cannot run the football effectively, they cannot rush the passer consistently and they have numerous players nursing injuries.
Against Detroit, the Colts only ran for 82 yards, and Luck accounted for 21 of those yards. Meanwhile, their defense only registered one sack, and its secondary suffered even more injuries.
T.J Green (knee) and Patrick Robinson (concussion) left the Lions’ game early, and both might not play against the Broncos. They were already thin in the secondary due to injuries. These recent ones make their exposed secondary even worse.
The Broncos will try to take advantage of the Colts’ vulnerable secondary. Siemian may not be an elite quarterback, but he can make all the throws if he gets enough time. Again, the Colts do not have a great pass rush so Siemian will have a lot of time to pick apart the their secondary.
Also, the Broncos will run the football a lot. They are built to be a run-first football team, and they just ran for 157 rushing yards against the Carolina Panthers’ stingy defense. The Colts’ defense will busy defending the pass and run Sunday.
Meanwhile, the Colts’ offense will have to fit a way to pick apart the Broncos’ defense. Obviously, their best shot at doing this is by throwing the ball with Luck. However, the Broncos’ pass rush will do its best to prevent that from happening.
The Colts’ offensive line has struggled with pass protection over the past season, and struggled against the Lions last weekend. If the problem continues to persist Sunday, the Broncos’ Von Miller and Demarcus Ware will terrorize Luck in the backfield.
This matchup does not favor the Colts. Denver’s strengths can take advantage of Indianapolis’ weaknesses. The Broncos will probably control time of possession and prevent Luck from getting into any sort of rhythm.
All signs point to the Colts losing this game and starting a season with a 0-2 record for the third year in a row.
Prediction: Broncos 27, Colts 21