I have read some articles about the Colts chances of beating the Broncos and Peyton Manning and there seems to be varying levels of opinion as to whether they can perform up to the perceived “Elite’ level the Broncos are believed to be in. We all remember the first game of the season with Denver holding off a late charge from Luck and the Colts. We also remember the game last year where Peyton returned to Indy but lost the game to the newcomer. Many are saying that Luck and the Colts are playing with ‘House Money,” which means anything they do – win or lose – is considered positive. I somewhat see that train of thought but don’t totally agree with that. I view anything other than a win on Sunday to be loss for this team. They are past the stage of being happy to be there. Factors such as Luck’s contract, past success, and Irsay’s belief that they are championship material indicate that winning is the bottom line, period!
I know that I have stated that this team is flawed and I still believe that, but that doesn’t prohibit them from making a run like the Giants or Ravens in recent years. That doesn’t discount the problems the team has had with the offensive line, running game, safety/corner back, and pass rush at times during the season. However, with Luck at the helm, it seems this team has a puncher’s chance against Denver and Peyton. Even with the perceived talent level favoring the Broncos, the Colts have split the series.
So, what can the Colts do to pull this one out at the end? First and foremost, the Colts can’t afford to go with the “Power Running” game (Trent Richardson) and need to continue utilizing “Boom” Herron and Tipton just as they did against the Bengals. Look, Justin noted Herron’s fumbling tendencies as of late, but ignoring him is taking a potential big play portion out of their playbook. Make no mistake, he will be on a short leash, as he should, but he has shown what type of weapon he can be.
Next, the Colts will need to play their most complete defensive game against the Broncos. Vontae Davis and Greg Toler will have their hands full with the Broncos receivers and the linebackers will have to account for the middle of the field. Yet, the biggest key to success will be getting to Manning either from the edge or from schemes. If Manning is able to scan the field, he will pick the defense apart. The defensive line will have to get the pressure and move Manning out of his comfort zone; picking up a sack or two will definitely help their chances. Finally, the Colts special teams must continue their special play; let Pat do what he does best – boom kicks down the field, and let A-V continue his nearly flawless streak, and hopefully Josh Cribbs can provide a game-changing return.
Can the Colts do what many perceive as impossible? Yes. Will it happen? Maybe. We have seen this team play at an elite level at times while other times looking almost uninterested. This is the their time to make it happen. Make no mistake about it, Coach Pagano coaches with passion and heart, and I’m quite sure he is telling them that no one gives them a chance to win the game. This is the type of game this team usually comes out on fire for. Luck is the ultimate band-aid covering over many of the teams blemishes, and now is the time for the rest of the team to catch up with him. If they can play as a team, then they can quite possibly pull this one out!