Peyton Manning has yet to beat the NFL odds against his old team. Will the fourth time be the charm when the Denver Broncos visit the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday?
Jason's 2015 record as of Nov. 3: 26-21-2 ATS; 0-1 ML (-1.00 units); 18-27 Total
We're as surprised as you are. Not only did the Denver Broncos (+2.5 at home) upset the Green Bay Packers 29-10 on Sunday night, they also got a very good game from Peyton Manning. Wasn't he supposed to be washed up? Manning didn't find the end zone, but he was 21-of-29 for 340 yards and just one pick, finishing the day in fifth place on Football Outsiders' Week 8 Total DYAR charts at +155.
One day later, Manning's former employers, the Indianapolis Colts, lost 29-26 to the Carolina Panthers in overtime. The Colts mounted a furious fourth-quarter comeback, scoring 17 points to tie the game and earn a matador cover, but it wasn't enough; Andrew Luck (–42 Total DYAR) threw a costly interception in the extra frame to give Carolina the victory. Now the Colts are 4-point home dogs on the NFL odds board for Sunday's matchup (4:25 p.m. ET, CBS) with Denver. Yikes.
Feet of Clay
Credit where credit is due. Manning has had some good moments in the “pistol” formation this year, and he was finally able to put it all together against Green Bay to keep the Broncos undefeated at 7-0 SU and 5-2 ATS. The middle of the field was open all night long for Manning; he was 6-for-6 throwing to his tight ends, and Packers LB Clay Matthews had a hard time keeping up after he sprained his ankle in the third quarter.
As if on cue, the Broncos went out and liberated TE Vernon Davis from the San Francisco 49ers on Monday, in a deal involving some late-round draft picks. Davis (18 catches, zero TDs) was clearly going to waste in San Francisco, but at age 31, can he recapture his Pro Bowl magic from 2013, when he caught 52 passes for 13 touchdowns? It could happen now that Davis is surrounded by better teammates.
Due, Be Due, Be Due
The Colts (3-5 SU and ATS) could use an upgrade or two themselves. They're still in first place in the AFC South, which is hilarious, but it looks like the regression monsters have finally caught up to Indy. Let's take a quick look at the previous three years of the Chuck Pagano-Andrew Luck Era:
2012: 11-5 SU and ATS, 6.2 Estimated Wins
2013: 11-5 SU, 10-6 ATS, 9.5 Estimated Wins
2014: 11-5 SU, 10-5-1 ATS, 8.8 Estimated Wins
There's no such thing as “being due,” of course. However, Indy's success as an NFL pick was tenuous at best. While Luck's ongoing maturation gave the Colts a chance to continue printing money, now that he's struggling, there's no covering up the warts on this donkey. Manning might be 0-3 ATS against his former team, but at press time, nearly 95 percent of the action for this game is on Denver, and we're not about to argue.
NFL Picks: Take the Broncos –3.5 (–105) at YouWager