Colts and Broncos have met before back in the first week of the season. At that time, Denver emerged with a victory and this time they're favorites on our NFL odds.
Indianapolis Colts vs. Denver Broncos (-7/54) 4:40 ET CBS
The Colts travel to Denver for the final game of this playoff weekend. They will be greeted by relatively balmy temperatures of 40 degrees, with little chance of a winter storm. These two met on this field the first week of the season as 7 point favorite (same line as today). Denver emerged with a 31-24 victory. Credit a +2 net TO margin favoring the Broncos as they were actually outgained by the Colts (408-361). Luck out passed Manning 354-259.
Indy enters with 2 solid games of momentum. Four weeks ago, they clinched the division title. The following week, they laid a gigantic egg with a 42-7 loss at Dallas. But, they have rebounded in the next two weeks to enter with solid momentum. They closed the season with a 27-10 road victory at Tennessee in which they dominated the Titans with a 378-192 yardage edge. Last week, on their home field against a battered and bruised Bengals’ offense, the Colts again cruised 26-10 with QB Luck throwing for 368 yards as the Colts amassed a 482-254 yardage edge. Indy was 5-3 SU ATS on the road this year. But, just 2-4 SU, 3-3 ATS vs. playoff teams. QB Luck has now led the Colts to 3 consecutive seasons of 11 or more wins. This year, the record finds the Colts to be a lofty 12-5 SU, 11-4 ATS (the biggest moneymaker of the remaining 8 teams). Luck has yet, however, to prove his mettle on the road. When the Colts are installed as road dog, Luck is just 5-9 ATS, including 0-2 SU ATS on the road in playoff games.
No such problems of inexperience with these Denver Broncos. QB Manning led the Broncos to a home record of 8-0 SU, but just 4-4 ATS. There will be plenty of hunger on this veteran team, after failing in their Super Bowl quest vs. Seattle last year. It was clear in that contest, that Detroit’s defensive deficiencies could not overcome the strong right arm of Manning. To rectify that problem, the Broncos’ entire focus was on improving the defense in the off-season. That, they did! This year, teams ran just 22 times against them for only 80/3.7 (2nd best only to Seattle, among the 8 remaining playoff teams). Of equal importance in this matchup, the Broncos allowed just 5.6 per pass attempt (best of all remaining playoff teams) and only 305 YPG on 4.9 defensive YP play (2nd best to only Seattle).
Until Indy has gotten over the road hump against quality teams (surely that recent smashing by Dallas will be in their minds), we must back this undefeated home record of the Broncos as our NFL pick, behind veteran QB Manning, a vastly improved defense and a playoff hunger after failing the Super Bowl last season.
NFL Pick: Denver Broncos -7 at 5Dimes