NFL Picks: Denver to Stay Perfect as Peyton Comes Home to Indy

Mark Lathrop

Friday, November 6, 2015 1:07 PM GMT

Peyton Manning comes home to show struggling Andrew Luck what it means to be a real quarterback in the NFL after the protegee has gotten off to a very slow start in Indy.

The Denver Broncos look to keep their season perfect in Week 9 as they visit Andrew Luck and the struggling 3-5 Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium. Even though the Colts are in 1st place in the AFC South, they have a -30 scoring differential as compared to Denver’s +56, who of course are in 1st place in the AFC West. The Broncos are favored in this game across the board at -5; however, it is the Colts that are holding near perfect ATS form against Denver in the last ten games at 9-1, and are 5-0 straight up against them in the last five at home. In two of those games, Peyton Manning was still the QB in Indy.

The O/U total in this game has initially been set at 45 points at Bovada.

The early public action is heavily on Denver at this time, with nearly 96% of the action listed on SBR coming in on the Broncos. That isn’t the heaviest publicly backed favorite though as the Falcons have almost 98% action against the Santa Clara 49ers. The 49ers are a complete dumpster fire right now, of course.

It is hard to doubt the conventional wisdom of this early money that is piling on the Denver Broncos. The easiest way to get the Broncos to struggle is to pressure the aging Peyton Manning and force him to make a throw his mind wants to accomplish but his body can not anymore. However, the Colts do not possess a solid pass rush, and are nearly last in the league in sacks on the year with only 12 over 8 games. Compare that to the NFL leading Broncos in that category, who have gotten home 29 times in only 7 games. This is one of the reasons that the Colts are giving up a 28th ranked 280 YPG in passing so far this year.

Facing the best of class Denver Bronco front 7 is not going to do any wonders for the struggling Colts passing game. The Colts are completing just 56.8% of their passes this year – good for 30th in the NFL.  This statistic would be worse without the solid play of veteran Matt Hasselbeck, who’s completion rate this season is 63.2%. Two of the three wins for the Colts this year were with Hasselbeck at the helm. That leaves the problems squarely on the shoulders of Andrew Luck, who is having an awful season. Even after forcing overtime against Carolina in Week 7 on Monday Night Football, Luck posted a QBR rating of 50.9 in that game.

Luck’s 12 interceptions leads the NFL in that statistic, and that is only over the six games that he has played in. There may be calls for Luck to go the way of Colin Kaepernick if this keeps up. Ok, that is unlikely to happen, but this guy needs a serious reset or some more time to get healthy for the Colts to have any kind of chance should they make the playoffs.

The Colts probably turn it around this year and could make the playoffs with a losing record in the terrible AFC South, but that won’t start with this week’s matchup against the Broncos. At only five points, this line looks too good to be true. That’s my only reservation, but not a strong one, as I think there are times when backing the top defense in the league is a pretty foolproof strategy. Furthermore, this is like a home game for Peyton and he will have some extra motivation to show up the Colts. With the elite defense to back him up I like his chances, and am taking Denver -5 at Bovada as one of my Week 9 NFL picks.

NFL Pick: Denver Broncos -5 (-115) at Bovada