Indianapolis Colts at Denver Broncos 9/7/14 NFL Pick, Odds, Prediction
Indianapolis Colts (0-0) at Denver Broncos (0-0)
NFL Football: Sunday, September 7, 2014 at 8:30 pm (Sports Authority Field at Mile High)
The Line: Denver Broncos -7 -- Over/Under: 55 See the Latest Odds
The Denver Broncos and Indianapolis Colts face off on NBC’s Sunday Night Football in a battle of AFC playoff teams from last season.
The Indianapolis Colts went 11-5 last season and were crushed in the divisional round of the playoffs by the Patriots after winning an exciting wild card matchup against the Chiefs. The Colts lost all four of their preseason games to kick off 2014.
USA TODAY Sports
On offense, the Colts are led by Andrew Luck who continues to improve each day at the quarterback position. Luck picked up a new target at wide receiver in Hakeem Nicks, adding to the existing talent of Reggie Wayne and speedster T.Y. Hilton. Indy also has two decent options at tight end in Dwayne Allen and Luck’s former Stanford teammate Colby Fleener. The running game has typically been a weak point for Colts teams over the years but Indy features a proven back in Ahmad Bradshaw and a back with potential in Trent Richardson.
On defense, the Colts the Colts weren’t particularly strong in 2013 with pedestrian rankings against both the run and the pass. The Colts added LB D'Qwell Jackson to add toughness in the middle of the field but outside linebacker Robert Mathis will miss the first four games of the season after violating the substance abuse policy in an attempt to conceive a child with his wife. Mike Adams was signed at strong safety after playing the past two seasons in Denver.
The Denver Broncos were the Super Bowl runners up last season as the team wasn’t prepared for the suffocating Seattle defense. The Broncos didn’t mess around in the preseason with a 3-1 record with the loss coming in garbage team by a single point.
On offense, the Broncos have only gotten stronger as QB Peyton Manning has a new target at wide receiver in Emmanuel Sanders from the Steelers to complement a loaded group that includes Demaryius Thomas and Wes Welker in addition to tight end Julius Thomas. Welker may not be guaranteed to start after enduring a concussion but all signs point to a recovery by game time at this point. In the backfield Monte Ball and Ronnie Hillman will each see work and benefit from Manning’s keen instincts to audible at the line.
Defensively, the Broncos were stout against the run last year but ranked 28th against the pass, a phenomenon that can partially be explained by opposing teams trailing by wide margins and abandoning the run late in games. The Broncos added DeMarcus Ware at DE, who could have a big day against Indy given the shakiness of their offensive line. LB Von Miller is a huge threat as well and the Broncos added Aqib Talib to bolster the secondary.
The touchdown head start looks tempting but I see the Broncos making a statement in their home opener in prime time.