The Denver Broncos (2-2, 2-0 home) kick off the fifth week of the NFL season with a Thursday night home tilt against the Indianapolis Colts (1-2-1, 0-1-1 away). The AFC showdown features a team from the West and a team from the South going toe-to-toe.
Thursday’s kickoff is at 8:15 p.m. EST at Empower Field at Mile High Stadium in Denver, Colorado. Denver is a 3.5-point favorite entering the contest, with the over/under total set at 43.5 points.
What to Know – Indianapolis Colts
Indianapolis hasn’t had the start it anticipated sitting below .500 after the first month of action. The Colts’ offense just hasn’t been able to get it going under new starting quarterback Matt Ryan. There is a lot of time left for Indianapolis to get things going, sitting just a half-game out of the top spot in the AFC South.
The biggest issue with Ryan so far has been the five interceptions he’s thrown through his first four starts. Ryan has thrown for 1,125 yards, completing 66.2% of his passes with five touchdowns thrown.
Starting running back Jonathan Taylor has felt the offensive woes and hasn’t eclipsed 100-yards rushing since the season-opener. Taylor, who is battling a high ankle sprain and listed day-to-day, is averaging 4.0 yards per touch with one touchdown and has been an afterthought in the passing attack.
Michael Pittman Jr. has stepped up in the role of the top target for Ryan when dropping back to pass. Pittman has been targeted a team-high 28 times, hauling in 20 receptions for 224 yards and one score. Tight end Mo Alie-Cox is coming off a two touchdown performance in Sunday’s defeat.
What to Know – Denver Broncos
The Broncos in the same boat as the Colts, expected to be one of the top teams in the AFC but have looked sluggish out of the gate. Denver needs to get things rolling if it wants a shot in a brutal AFC West division.
Russell Wilson was a headline acquisition for the Broncos in the offseason, and he hasn’t lived up to the large contract he penned yet. Wilson has thrown for 980 yards, completing 61.1% of his throws and averaging only 7.5 yards per catch. He has four touchdowns and one interception thrown.
An unfortunate blow to the Broncos’ rushing attack with Javonte Williams missing the remainder of the season with a right ACL tear. Williams was the team’s leading rusher with 204 yards on the ground. Veteran Melvin Gordon III takes over as the lead back for the Denver offense that relies heavily on the ground game.
One person who has benefited from Wilson’s signing is wide receiver Cortland Sutton. The two have made an instant connection, with Sutton hauling in 24 of 35 targets for 343 yards and a touchdown with Jerry Jeudy serving as the team’s No. 2 pass-catcher.
The Pick is In
Neither team has been particularly impressive this season when there was a lot of hype surrounding the franchises heading into the year. Wilson and Ryan haven’t looked like former Pro-Bowlers.
Two struggling offenses aided by solid defenses has been the story, like out of Indianapolis and Denver this year. Anticipate a low-scoring slugfest with the Colts covering on a backdoor touchdown late.
The Pick: Indianapolis Colts +3.5