Denver Broncos (4-9 SU, 3-9-1 ATS) vs. Indianapolis Colts (3-10 SU, 6-7 ATS)
NFL Week 15
Date/Time: Thursday, December 14, 2017 at 8:25PM EST
Where: Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis, Indiana
by Scott, Expert Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: DEN -2/IND +2
Over/Under Total: 40.5
The Denver Broncos come into Lucas Oil Stadium to take on the Indianapolis Colts on Thursday Night Football. Its a battle between a 4-win Broncos team and a 3-win Colts team who have taken their share of lumps this season. The Colts lost another close one on Sunday, falling in OT to the Bills, 13-7, on Sunday. Denver, however, snapped a horrific 8-gmae losing streak and shut out the Jets, 23-0. It hardly makes up for all their low-points this season, but shows they havent folded up their tents and gone home mentally heading down the final stretch. Who can win in Indy this week? Will the Colts continue to perform capably at home or will Denver carry over the good momentum of last week?
The season is surely weighing on the Colts after losing 7 of their last 8 games. The OT loss on Sunday was their second of the season. They showed some moxie in being able to score a game-tying touchdown late to send it to overtime in Buffalo, but came up short in the extra period, with LeSean McCoy scoring on a long TD run. It was another setback for a team that has been derailed by injuries this season. But for all their woes, they have been pretty solid at home over the last few months. And after two straight games on the road, maybe they can find some better form this week.
It hasnt been an ideal situation on offense for the Colts and there was only so much they were going to be able to do without having Luck behind center. Jacoby Brissett isnt going to be the long-term answer, but he has performed capably and with a lot of effort and hunger. Not many quarterbacks in the league would still be in there healthy with the number of hits and sacks that Brissett has absorbed this season. He wasnt good on Sunday, but he really hasnt been all that bad with that line and a less-than scintillating cast of playmakers on this side on the ball. TY Hilton is a good receiver, while TE Jack Doyle and RB Frank Gore can still provide, but its been very hard for this group to put it together, averaging just over 16 points a game. With the defense they have, thats not going to be enough most weeks. On Sunday, Doyle caught the late-game TD to send it to overtime and Gore had 130 yards, but to score just one TD against the Bills is hard to paint in any other way but downright-ugly.
Even if everything had worked out for the Indy defense injury-wise, they werent going to be a great defense. With more valuable manpower on the injury-list than on the field, the defense is left to be exploited by the better offenses they play. On Sunday, they performed well, holding Buffalo to 7 points in regulation, before losing in overtime. Its just not a very impactful group. They dont rush the passer or generate any game-changing plays. And when games are up-for-grabs late, its striking how seldom this defense is able to make anything positive occur. Still, against a Denver offense, we could see the Indy D play tough, as weve seen them do this season against the less-formidable offenses they have faced.
It feels weird to say this about a team that was crowned Super Bowl Champions as recently as February 2016, but the Broncos really needed that win on Sunday just to save face. After an 8-game losing streak where Denver had looked as ragged as they had in years, it was starting to look like they had packed it in. The deterioration of both sides of the ball was dramatic. Not that beating the Jets makes it all better, but to score a shutout win like that shows that we may have been overestimating their overall decay. The defense looked like a typical good Denver defense, with enough plays on offense to conclusively seal the deal. But this is still a team that has suffered massively this season, beaten by bad teams multiple times and having really been a huge letdown after a 3-1 start.
After having Brock Osweiler and Paxton Lynch behind center to see if they get this offense cooking, Denver looks like theyre back with Trevor Siemian at QB. And at least he was able to help get the win with a decently-efficient performance on Sunday. He connected well with Demaryius Thomas and ran the offense with some smoothness. But over the weeks, weve seen precious little from guys around Thomas. The run-game has ebbed after a decent start to the season by CJ Anderson. No supporting pieces have really revealed themselves. And with three different quarterbacks trying their hand at the gig, none of them look to be the long-term solution. With a line that has been hit by injuries and isnt up-to-snuff, they have really struggled to put up points in most spots.
The shutout over the Jets was a good sign, but for the most part, the Denver defense has not been the same group in the last few months. On Sunday, some big plays helped the cause, with Darian Stewart notching an interception, while the pass-rush was finally awakened with Von Miller getting after the quarterback. DE Adam Gotsis secured a fumble recovery, with Shelby Harris and Brandon Marshall recording sacks on the day. The Jets were really stymied, compiling just 100 yards of total offense and a paltry six first downs. If that form or something close can be replicated this week, they will be in pretty good shape.
Again, the Colts could be better this week as they return home where theyve only been embarrassed once this season. They have been tough in Indy and against a lot better teams than Denver. Granted, Indy could be feeling the affects of a tough stretch and a lack of overall success, but it was easy to say that about the Broncos before last week and look how well they did. Neither team elicits much confidence regardless of which side you pick. But I see this game being a real grind, with the Colts hanging in there and getting the cover.
Scott’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: Im betting on the Indianapolis Colts plus two points. – Bet your pick for this game using your credit card at an online bookie where it WILL work for deposits and where you’ll receive a generous 50% signup bonus on your first deposit of $100 to $250! (Example: Deposit $250 and they’ll give you an extra $250 FREE!) Find this great offer at Bovada Sportsbook.