Denver Broncos vs. Indianapolis Colts Pick 10/27/19
Denver Broncos (2-5 SU, 3-4 ATS) vs. Indianapolis Colts (4-2 SU, 4-1-1 ATS)
NFL Week 8
Date/Time: Sunday, October 27, 2019 at 1PM EST
Where: Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis, Indiana
Point Spread: DEN +6/IND -6 (SportsBetting)
Over/Under Total: 43.5
The Denver Broncos come into Lucas Oil Stadium on Sunday for a week eight AFC showdown with the Indianapolis Colts. The Colts, with a narrow lead in the AFC South, were able to come off the bye-week to post a nice 30-23 win over divisional foe Houston and now look to further their cause in a year. They’ve exceeded some people’s expectations, failing to cover the spread just once this season. Denver, meanwhile, is coming off the long week, having suffered a 30-6 home-beating at the hands of the Chiefs last Thursday. But with two straight wins before that, can they reproduce that level of scrappiness here and make a run at the spread? Let’s break it down.
Better Than Expected
People expected the retirement of Andrew Luck to resonate more, but the Colts look pretty good through 6 games. Credit that to the thoughtful constructing of a deep roster that can allow a team to lose their main star yet continue almost unabated. The true value of the Colts will be determined down the line, but Jacoby Brissett had shown himself to be much-improved from the time he ran this offense when Luck was injured. Credit that to individual improvement, in addition to gains made on both sides of the ball.
In completing 65% of his throws with a TD-to-INT ratio of 14/3, Brissett has been looking good. Helping him is a top offensive line, bolstered by a good ground game led by the underrated Marlon Mack. It’s a consistent ground-attack that can make some big plays here and there. This would appear to be a matchup advantage for the Colts, who will need to run the ball to circumvent a still very tough Denver secondary. While the Denver front-seven can rush the passer, they haven’t always done well against the better running teams they’ve faced this season.
Broncos a Sleeper?
Losing their first four games of the season had people shoveling dirt on the Broncos. But the team, under first-year coach and defensive wizard Vic Fangio, has shown a lot of scrappiness lately. It didn’t manifest against Kansas City, which was upsetting, but the two wins leading up to that showed they are still gunning hard for success. They’re not going to go to the playoffs, but there are enough good things on this team to warrant due respect.
The Denver offense has slipped a ton since their glory period not that long ago. Against an Indy defense that isn’t always stout against the run, Denver could do damage with a good run-game led by Phillip Lindsay and Royce Freeman. The aerial game suffers with Joe Flacco working with a pretty no-frills aerial attack, as Courtland Sutton is really their only reliable threat, especially now that they dealt away Emmanuel Sanders this week. But offensively against a playmaking Indy “D,” there are concerns in this matchup.
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Broncos Defense a Difference Maker in This Spot?
This is a part of the Denver formula for success that hasn’t fallen off that badly. Ranked fourth in total yardage allowed, it’s been pretty good. The secondary led by Chris Harris, Kareem Jackson and Justin Simmons with two picks has done a really good job, one of the more rigid pass-defenses in the conference. Losing Bradley Chubb hurt, but they can still get after the quarterback with Von Miller and Demarcus Walker chipping in. We see Fangio’s handiwork already resonating in a big way on this side of the ball. Can they stem Brissett’s recent flair he has shown aerially? Can they contain the run-game in this tough road spot?
It won’t be easy. The Denver pass-rush will be getting stiff resistance from a good Colts front. And while the Indy pass-attack isn’t a star-studded one perhaps, they have a lot of variety and firepower. Eric Ebron is a significant threat at tight end. Ty Hilton is still a very reliable target. With Zach Pascal, Chester Rogers, TE Jack Doyle, and others, they can throw a lot of different looks at the Broncos. That same type of variety cost the Denver “D” in their last game when they couldn’t stop the KC offense, even with Mahomes out of action.
Gauging the Immeasurable
With the Broncos, it’s going to be a little bit of a guessing game this season. They have this quiet competence that exceeds what the total of their parts would suggest. You see a retrograde quarterback in Flacco with a dearth of aerial targets. On defense, the only thing that pops is Von Miller, with a lot of no-name types around him. But a team that can run the ball and play defense is always a threat. Trying to guess which version of this team will materialize on a given week, however, is not easy. At their worst, they’re flat as can be. The defense doesn’t make an impact, and the offense can’t string together more than a first down or two for long stretches of the game. At their best, they run the ball well and keep the opposing offense from establishing traction.
One could project that the Denver recipe for success could resonate in this spot. The Indy offense only really fires in the right situations. And some injuries have prevented the “D” from hitting its sweet spot this season. If Denver runs the ball and the Colts can’t genuinely overcome the Broncos defense, covering this number won’t be easy. And there is evidence that Denver can thrive in those areas this week in this matchup. But maybe Indy has the right answers. I suspect they might.
Lay the Number on the Home Favorite
If you assume being at home is worth three points, are the Colts only a couple of points better than the Broncos? Does Denver having an erratically-good defense and a little spark in the run game supersede what Indy has been able to do this season? Granted, this game could end up being a grind. I just see a pumped-up Indy scene with the Colts looking to push the envelope. I like Indy.
Loot’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: I’m betting on the Indianapolis Colts minus 6 points.