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Broncos Colts preview: Peyton Manning and the offense need to keep grinding

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The Denver Broncos (7-0) will travel to face the Indianapolis Colts (3-4) in Week 9 in what will likely be Peyton Manning's final visit to the stadium he played in for fourteen seasons.

Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports
Indianapolis Colts
Sunday, November 8, 2015 - 2:25 PM MDT
Denver Broncos

AVG. YPA (RNK)

TEAM CATEGORY

AVG. YPA (RNK)

31st Pass Off. 21st
15th Rush Off. 26th
23rd Pass Def. 2nd
18th Rush Def. 4th
3-5 Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis, IN 7-0
T-1st AFC South Spread: Broncos by 4.5 1st AFC West

The Denver Broncos could be due for a letdown after an emotional and dominant win over the Green Bay Packers last week on Sunday Night Football, at least defensively. The good news is that Peyton Manning and that offense appears to have figured some things out, so it will be nice to see if they can continue that positive step forward again this week.

Manning will be looking to set a couple of big time quarterback NFL records against the Indianapolis Colts and knowing how big of an NFL history buff he is, he'll want to secure both records in front of the crowd that cheered him on throughout most of his career.

With Andrew Luck struggling mightily, the records could come more easily than one would expect. However, Luck and the Colts showed some tenacity and fight against the Carolina Panthers on Monday Night Football, taking the undefeated Panthers to overtime in that game.

Strength against weakness

Here are some of the bigger match-ups in this week's game between the Indianapolis Colts and Denver Broncos that we'll need to keep an eye on.

No Fly Zone vs. Andrew Luck

Whatever doubters of this Denver Broncos defense were left in the NFL before last week had their opinions on the matter squarely rejected by the historic performance the Orange Crush put on Aaron Rodgers and the Packers. Various defensive players had noted leading up to the game that they felt that game against the Packers was a chance to prove those doubters wrong. And prove they did.

The question now is, do they have anything left in the tank to bring another elite quarterback back down to Earth? Part of me feels like we might be due for a bit of a letdown from the defense this week. The good news is that Luck has been hurried and harassed all year long. You can tell he doesn't trust his pocket on most downs and watching tape from the Broncos-Packers game will not make him feel good about his chances anyway.

The key for the Broncos is to generate enough pressure early to shorten the internal clock in Luck's head to the point where he'll make costly mistakes like these, even when he does have more than enough time to get the ball into someones hands.

Broncos rushing attack vs Colts run defense

After Ronnie Hillman had his coming out party in previous weeks, it was C.J. Anderson who would have a monster game against the Packers. Hillman would get two early touchdowns, but Anderson would get the 100 yard rushing game and a touchdown of his own. It was the Broncos best day running the ball all year.

Splitting the carries appears to be working here, so getting the running game established will help open up the passing game just like it did for the Broncos last week. Manning is going to want that record, but he's got to maintain discipline too here.

Peyton Manning vs. Colts secondary

The Colts defense is suspect against both the run and the pass, so the Broncos should be able to build on the success they had against the Packers. Really it will come down to ole Peyton Manning and whether he can continue playing like he did last week.

The shotgun and pistol formations are finally starting to work and when Demaryius Thomas gets going this offense has explosive capabilities.

Emmanuel Sanders had an off day against the Packers and you could sense his frustrations, so I would expect him to come out and have a big day against the Colts. After all, this has been two weeks in a row now where Manning has rediscovered the deep ball. I suppose it was only a matter of time, eh?

I'll tell you what, over the last two weeks this offense has started to regain some of its former luster. If they keep getting better, this team could be peaking right as they enter the playoffs. They just need to keep building on things here.

The bottom line

The bottom line is that the Broncos offense needs to be the unit that jumps on the Colts early and never lets up. Luck has proven he can cut big leads down in a big hurry, so the defense will need to limit that as much as possible.

This game simply comes down to "taking care of business" for the Broncos. There is a major game looming at the end of November that will likely determine homefield advantage, so its on these guys to take care of their business one game at a time.

My gut tells me Manning is going to have a huge game against the Colts. And the defense will once again prove itself to the NFL world.