For the first time in nine weeks we get a game preview after a win.
On top of that, the nation gets to see the Denver Broncos color rush uniforms. Not sure how they will react to this pillow fight on Thursday Night Football between two bad teams, but at least Broncos Country gets to see the old school logo. The game also is on Thursday, so we get it out of the way.
Since both the Broncos (4-9) and Indianapolis Colts (3-10) are out of the playoff picture pride is pretty much all that’s on the line for both teams. As it stands now, the Colts would pick No. 3 in the NFL Draft and Denver No. 5. The loser of this game would get the edge to a higher pick, for what’s is worth.
Will the Broncos string wins together for the first time since the first two weeks of the season? Will they win the first road game since they beat the Jacksonville Jaguars in December of last season? Will Denver beat the Colts in Indy for the first time since 2003?
Indianapolis: Thirty-first in overall offense (290.7 yards), 20th in rushing (104), 29th in passing (186.7) and 30th in points (16.3).
Denver: Twenty-second in overall offense (312.1 yards), 19th in rushing (105.5), 21st in passing (206.5) and 26th in points (17.6).
Indianapolis: Thirtieth in overall defense (375.3 yards), 23rd in rushing (117.5), 30th in passing (257.8) and 31st in points (26.4).
Denver: First in overall defense (280.5 yards), tied for third in rushing (89.5), second in passing (191.1) and 24th in points (24.2).
Here are our keys to the game.
Win the turnover battle
As Adam Malnati and I said on the MHR Radio Podcast, we saw what happens when Trevor Siemian and the offense don’t turn the ball over. The Broncos are able to score points and the defense is better suited to have success. In other words, Von Miller and company aren’t put in no-win situations as they have most of the season. Denver has won a franchise-record 32 consecutive games (dating back to 2012) when it wins the turnover battle. That’s the longest active streak in the NFL.
As @AdamMalnati16 & I said on the @MileHighReport Radio Podcast, it's not about "hoping" the #Broncos lose, but having the expectation they aren't in this position again, as they have been for two seasons now. We also preview #TNF vs the #Colts. https://t.co/3FD6AAZkg6— Ian St. Clair (@IanStClair) December 14, 2017
If Siemian and the offense do against the Colts what they did on Sunday against the New York Jets, the Broncos will win. - Ian St. Clair
Win the turnover battle II
In line with what Ian said, Denver proved against the Jets that winning the turnover battle is the best way to assure a victory. If the Broncos can force Indy into mistakes they can keep winning football games. - Adam Malnati
Run the football
Consistently. Denver has run more often than its passed in four out of 13 games this season ... it won all four of those games. Likewise, the Broncos passed more than they've run in nine out of 13 games, and lost all nine of those games. That's very telling. And while it was understandable in blowout losses against the Philadelphia Eagles, New England Patriots, or Miami Dolphins, the “pass-because-we're-behind” excuse that's been trotted out by the coach doesn't hold up well across the board.
Staying true to the rushing game might very well have changed the outcomes of closer losses, like the New York Giants, Cincinnati Bengals, and Oakland Raiders. For that matter, the coaches abandoned the rushing game against the Dolphins before the end of the first quarter, long before the game got out of hand. That's got to stop. - Taylor Kothe
Run the football II
I agree with Taylor 100%. The Broncos never waivered from the pounding the rock despite a laughable 2.4 yards per carry in the game against the Jets. Denver took the punts with pride and asked Siemian to only pick up third downs and go for the deep shot down the field now and then. It was the recipe I asked for more times than I care to remember this season. The Colts are a very bad defense, so the Broncos offense has a golden opportunity to put together a winning streak on Thursday night. - Tim Lynch