Kick-off Thursday night to Friday at 2:15 a.m.
Denver Broncos (2-2) – Indianapolis Colts (1-2-1)
If we had to reassure the supporters of the Broncos and the Colts, we would tell them that none of the teams that have changed quarterbacks this season currently have a positive record. They would also be reminded that Peyton Manning lost 2 of his first 3 gamess with Denver before ending the season on 11 consecutive wins. Or that Tom Brady had fallen 5 times in 12 games in his first season in Tampa, which did not prevent him from winning the Super Bowl. In difficult times, we cling to what we can. This is what Denver and Indianapolis could do, since they have indeed been going through complicated times since the start of the season.
Accumulation of wounds
Not that the results are really alarming. Denver is even at and Indianapolis is just one game shy of its division lead. Everything is still possible for these two franchises. What worries is rather the content. The arrival of the two launchers had announced great promise in these respective franchises. In Denver, Russell Wilson was to be the missing link in a squad that was just waiting for a quarterback to move up a gear. For the Colts, the signing of a former MVP was to bring stability to a franchise that was looking to turn a corner. For the moment, there is nothing. But this match must be the occasion to launch the season. At least for one of the two.
The problem is that the wounds accumulate. Already orphaned by Tim Patrick, Russell Wilson will have to do without Javonte Williams for the rest of the season. On the other side of the ball, Randy Gregory will also be absent. Bad news for this defensive squad which must also be forgiven for its performance last Sunday against the Raiders. Usually strong against the run, the Broncos got cut out by Josh Jacobs. The runner has accumulated 144 yards in 28 runss, exposing gaps in ground defense. The good news is that in this sector the Colts are in trouble.
In search of the reference meeting
While it was THE strength of the Indianapolis offense last year, the ground game is struggling to get started this season. The Colts are just 27th in this sector of play (87.8 yards/running encounter). Not sure especially that this statistic improves with the injury of Jonathan Taylor. The league’s best runner in 2021 will be absent for this Thursday Night Football and Nyheim Hines will fill the interim. All the more reason for Matt Ryan to raise his level of play. Since the start of the season, the former Falcon has already accumulated 8 ball losses and 15 sacks. Far too high statistics in just 4 meetings.
As a result, the offensive squad is the least prolific in the league with only 14.3 points scored per game. An average that will have to be raised significantly if Indianapolis wants to live up to its ambitions. A recovery that goes through this match this Thursday. We will also observe the duel between Franck Reich and Nathaniel Hackett. Two coaches who have not reassured much since the start of the season and who are looking for a reference meeting. Why not in Prime Time.