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Week 9 Preview: Denver Broncos @ Indianapolis Colts

Peyton Manning will always be remembered as one of Indianapolis’ best quarterbacks. So when he faces his former team, it’s always emotional. Even more so with the Colts struggling this season and Manning just one game away from beating two more of Brett Favre’s records.

The Broncos have remained unbeaten this season mainly because of their phenomenal defense. But in the win over Green Bay last week, Manning and the offense looked much better, with the running game finally helping as Kubiak hoped it would. The Broncos will remain one of the AFC’s best as long as Manning, and the offense can keep up their new-found form.

The Colts are struggling despite being in the dismal AFC South. They haven’t won a game outside of their division and have been beaten by potential playoff contenders. Andrew Luck has struggled this season, missing two games with an injury, and offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton paid the price with his job. Can the Colts resurrect their season against the Broncos?

Three Keys to the Game:  

  1. Which Peyton Manning will show up?

With his early struggles, many believe that the Peyton Manning era is finally over. But after a good performance against the Packers, Manning rekindled some of his old form. But he needs to stay consistent to keep the Broncos in touch with the Bengals and Patriots. Manning has a chance to break Brett Favre’s career passing yards and career wins records. Manning tied the wins record against Green Bay last week, and is just _ yards away from the passing record. Even an average game from Manning will probably break both records, and it might be especially sweet against his old team in hid old stomping ground.  

  1. Indy’s new offensive scheme

What will new offensive coordinator Rod Chudzinski decide to do to fix Luck and the Colts? Luck has played well this season when forced into using an up-tempo attack when facing a deficit. Chudzinski should revisit that system to help Luck out, involving a better running game as well as getting the tight ends involved more to create better matchups for the struggling heir to Manning. But can it work against the Broncos defense?  

  1. Protecting Andrew Luck

For the struggling Colts, Denver’s defense is a buzz-saw. The Broncos are the league’s best defense. The Colts have struggled to generate points against even mediocre defenses. Denver lead the league with 29 sacks, meaning it will be a long afternoon for Luck and the Colts’ offensive line.

Matchup to watch:

T.Y. Hilton vs. Aqib Talib and Chris Harris Jr.

Being the league’s best pass defense, the Broncos have shut down number one receivers well this season. Aaron Rodgers could muster just 77 passing yards against the Broncos last week. Andrew Luck’s struggles have made his receivers struggle. Hilton had just one catch for 15 yards against the Panthers, and has only had one game over 100 receiving yards this season and has just three touchdowns. Against one of the league’s strongest cornerback tandems in the league in Talib and Harris, Hilton will once again struggle to help Luck. Talib and Harris have five interceptions and three touchdowns between them. With Luck leading the league with 12 interceptions, Talib and Harris could have a field day.

Prediction: Denver

It’s hard to imagine Chudzinski having enough of an impact to carry Luck past Denver’s dominant defense. The Colts are walking into a buzz-saw. The only thing that can make it a close game is if Manning struggles again. But chasing Favre’s records might give Manning the boost he needs to return to his vintage form.

Week 9 Preview: Denver Broncos @ Indianapolis Colts

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