NFL Betting: Peyton Goes Against His Old Team, Wanting A Shot At New England
After beating the New England Patriots in last year’s AFC Championship Game, Denver and quarterback Peyton Manning want to be able to face the Patriots yet again for the Super Bowl.
Indianapolis Colts @ Denver Broncos – Sunday, January 11
Sports betting line: Broncos -7
Why Indianapolis Will Win
This is a game the Colts can very realistically win, and it begins not with Andrew Luck – though he played really well in the wild card round against Cincinnati – but with Denver’s many question marks. Linebacker Brandon Marshall and safety T.J. Ward have been banged up, and the same goes for guard Orlando Franklin. Pass rusher DeMarcus Ware has not been the X-factor the Broncos were hoping he’d become. Peyton Manning’s thigh injury has clearly limited him over the past several weeks. Manning’s red-zone completion percentage is under 40 percent over the past four weeks after being above 70 percent in the first 12 weeks of the season. Denver has exhibited a lot of weaknesses over the past month, and with all the flux on the roster, you could very easily see a spotty and inconsistent performance from the Broncos after a week off. There are no guarantees that the Broncos will come together.
Then, as mentioned earlier, you have Luck, who threw an incredible 36-yard touchdown pass last week while being tackled from behind. Luck’s sense of the geometry of football is uncanny, and it’s why he’s going to be a star in this league for a long time. Luck almost led his team to a big comeback against Denver in week one of this season, but he fell one touchdown short of getting the Colts a tie and a chance at overtime. If he plays his best game, Luck can certainly outduel a less-than-great version of Manning and give Indianapolis a huge win.
Why Denver Will Win
When you look at this game, you can reasonably say that the Broncos have a lot of uncertainties to deal with, but on the other hand, the reality of injuries for Denver this season makes this first-round bye a very valuable one. First-round byes can and do create rust for the hot teams, but for playoff teams that have been banged up and frankly need to be able to recover both physically and mentally, byes come at just the right time. That could very well be the case for Denver, which will relish the opportunity to plug its frontline starters (Marshall at backer, Ward at safety, and probably Franklin at guard) back into the mix. Peyton Manning has also had a chance to heal up, and that could be the biggest benefit of all for the Broncos, who have simply not been the team they were in the first two months of the season. This positive change should give Denver a real edge.
Who Will Win
The Colts and Luck will keep the game close and cover. However, Peyton will feel good enough to be able to do what he needs to do, when he needs to do it. The Broncos will win outright even as the Colts cover.
NFL Betting Pick: Colts +7