TNF: Colts and Broncos
Kickoff: 8:15 pm ET
Where: Empower Field at Mile High, CO
Spread: Broncos (-3.5)
Week six of the NFL season will be underway tonight. This week’s TNF matchup will showcase two struggling AFC teams looking to avoid their third loss of the year. The Indianapolis Colts (1-2-1 ) will travel to Mile High to take on Russell Wilson and the Denver Broncos (2-2). Both of these teams lost their starting runningbacks to injury last week and will have to look elsewhere to fill that production on a short week’s rest.
The Colts arrive in Denver coming off a tough 24-17 loss to the Titans. Matt Ryan looked great last week, throwing for 356 yards and 2 touchdowns. The Colts will need similar production again from Ryan with the loss of Jonathan Taylor, who suffered a high ankle sprain last week. Even when Taylor played, the Colts just couldn’t move the ball efficiently on the ground. And despite Matt Ryan’s quality numbers, the Colts only mustered a single touchdown in the second half. In Taylor’s absence, look for the Colts to lean on Nyheim Hines in passing situations and Philip Lindsay in between the tackles. Matt Ryan will also have receiver Michael Pittman at his disposal, who didn’t see much work last week. He’ll have a tough matchup going against Patrick Surtain II, but expect the majority of the targets to go his way.
While the Colts are below average offensively, their defense ranks 7th in the NFL allowing 297 yards per game. However, All-Pro linebacker Darius Leonard and defensive lineman Tyquan Lewis will be sidelined tonight due to sustaining concussions last weekend. These are both major blows for the Colts.
Last weekend second-year running back Javonte Williams suffered a torn ACL, which will sideline him for the year. Replacing him will be veteran Melvin Gordon, who’s no stranger to being in a workhorse role. However, Gordon has struggled to begin the season with two fumbles and under 4 yards per carry. Meanwhile, the Colts’ defense is tied for second in turnovers, so it will be interesting to see how much they lean on him. The passing game should be the Broncos’ strength but it has struggled mightily under Nathaniel Hackett. They have yet to even score 25 points in a game this season. Nevertheless, a healthy Jerry Jeudy has seemed to give some life to the Broncos’ passing game. While inconsistent, both Jeudy and Courtland Sutton have shown the ability to make big plays while they are on the field together.
Like the Colts, the defense has been keeping the Broncos afloat while they work out their kinks on the offensive end. Denver’s defense ranks third in the NFL and is allowing only 170 passing yards per game. The Broncos are more vulnerable against the run, but shouldn’t have much to worry about with Taylor gone. They’ll be able to play the pass and put constant pressure on Matt Ryan.
The spread has this game being closer than it should be. There’s no question, the Colts are a different team without Jonathan Taylor and Darius Leonard. While the loss of Javonte Williams hurts, the Broncos still have a capable running back and can beat you deep with Jerry Jeudy and Courtland Sutton. Denver has the better quarterback and the better team, I’m taking the Broncos to win and cover tonight.
Broncos 21 – Colts 13
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