2019 Colts Season Preview: Colts/Broncos, Week 8

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INDIANAPOLIS — The Indianapolis Colts and Denver Broncos have shared some entertaining matchups in the past, and they renew their series this season at the season's halfway point. This Broncos team will look much different from the last time they played in 2017, though.

This will also already be the Colts' final game against the AFC West at the halfway point of the season, and their second consecutive home game before hitting the road again in Week 9.

BROADCAST INFORMATION

  • Sunday, Oct. 27, at 4:25 p.m. ET
  • Indianapolis; Lucas Oil Stadium
  • TV: CBS

ALL-TIME SERIES

  • Broncos lead, 10-14 (Colts are 3-0 in the playoffs). The Broncos have won the last two games, and three of the last five dating back to 2014.
  • Last game — Week 15 of 2017. Broncos won, 25-13.

COACHING STAFF

Colts:

  • HC Frank Reich
  • OC Nick Sirianni
  • DC Matt Eberflus
  • STC Bubba Ventrone

Broncos:

  • HC Vic Fangio
  • OC Rich Scangarello
  • DC Ed Donatell
  • STC Tom McMahon

KEY NEW FACES

Colts:

  • DE/LB Ben Banogu
  • WR Parris Campbell
  • WR Devin Funchess
  • DE Justin Houston
  • CB Rock Ya-Sin

Broncos:

  • TE Noah Fant
  • QB Joe Flacco/Drew Lock
  • CB Bryce Callahan/Kareem Jackson
  • OL Ja'Wuan James/Dalton Risner
  • DL Dre'Mont Jones

OTHER SIGNIFICANT CHANGES

Colts:

  • Overall, this was a pretty quiet offseason for the Colts for a change. It was about building onto and shaping the current roster rather than shaking things up or making sweeping changes. Former starting receivers Ryan Grant and Dontrelle Inman both departed in free agency, and veterans Mike Mitchell and Al Woods also were not re-signed by the team. Offensive lineman Matt Slauson retired following a 10-year career.

Broncos:

  • The Broncos have a new coaching staff in town this year, led by highly reputable defensive mastermind Vic Fangio, who replaces Vance Joseph as head coach. Fangio brought in Rich Scangarello to replace Bill Musgrave as offensive coordinator, and Ed Donatell in place of Joe Woods at defensive coordinator.
  • It's not just coaches who are new in town. At quarterback, veteran Joe Flacco comes in with the rookie Drew Lock nipping at his heels. Tight end Noah Fant becomes a dangerous weapon for the pair. Dalton Risner and Ja'Waun James were brought in to provide protection and create running lanes on the offensive front while Dre'Mont Jones, Kareem Jackson and Bryce Callahan were brought in on the defensive side of the ball for Fangio's defense.
  • Flacco and Lock replace former Broncos quarterback Case Keenum, while linemen Max Garcia, Matt Paradis and Jared Veldheer have moved on. On defense, plenty of familiar faces are no longer on the roster, as Shaquil Barrett, Tramaine Brock, Brandon Marshall, Domata Peko, Shane Ray, Bradley Roby, Darian Stewart and Jamar Taylor are now gone.

EARLY STORYLINES/THINGS TO WATCH

  • Who Will Be Denver's Quarterback? — The Broncos traded for Flacco when the new league year began. You know exactly what you're getting with him, and he can be a starter if you need it. However, Lock, who most considered to be an eventual starter in the league, fell into their lap in the second round of the draft. Who will be under center for the Broncos at Lucas Oil Stadium in Week 8?
  • A Vic Fangio Defense With Von Miller and Bradley Chubb — Fangio has long been one of the most respected defensive minds in football. We saw what we did with the Bears' defense last year and what guys like edge defender Khalil Mack, defensive lineman Akiem Hicks and safety Eddie Jackson were able to accomplish with Fangio's coaching. Fangio now gets the incredibly talented edge tandem of Von Miller and Bradley Chubb. Don't be surprised if these two are playing at their best with this coaching staff.
  • Big Performance From Kemoko Turay? — Miller is Colts' second-year defensive end Kemoko Turay's inspiration as a football player, and this will be Turay's first opportunity to play against him. It doesn't take much for football players to get amped for games, but some matchups mean a little more than others sometimes. This just might be one of those occasions for Turay.

INTRIGUING MATCHUPS

  • Colts WR T.Y. Hilton vs. Broncos CB Chris Harris Jr. — This is always a fun pairing to watch. Both Hilton and Harris are considered among the best at their position, and both are skilled enough to move around their formation. Andrew Luck and Hilton's chemistry might help Hilton get the edge in this matchup.
  • Colts OT Braden Smith vs. Broncos ED Von Miller — This might be the biggest assignment for Smith to date. Having this entire offseason and upcoming training camp to develop as a right tackle will help in this matchup. If Smith can keep Miller in check then it will earn him some serious street cred.
  • Colts LB Darius Leonard vs. Broncos TE Noah Fant — When Leonard peels off into coverage, he's probably going to have Fant in his cross heirs pretty often. The rookie tight end has plenty of speed and athleticism and won't pose the same threats as many tight ends around the league. He can stretch the field and beat defenders to the sticks or to turn the corner.

BETTING LINE

RETURNING LEADERS

Colts:

  • Passing — QB Andrew Luck (4,593 yards)
  • Rushing — RB Marlon Mack (908 yards)
  • Receiving — WR T.Y. Hilton (1,270 yards)
  • Touchdowns — TE Eric Ebron (14)
  • Tackles — LB Darius Leonard (163)
  • Sacks — DL Denico Autry (9.0)
  • Interceptions — CB Kenny Moore II (3)

Broncos:

  • Passing — WR Emmanuel Sanders (28 yards)
  • Rushing — RB Phillip Lindsay (1,037 yards)
  • Receiving — WR Emmanuel Sanders (868 yards)
  • Touchdowns — RB Phillip Lindsay (10)
  • Tackles — LB Todd Davis (114)
  • Sacks — OLB Von Miller (14.5)
  • Interceptions — CB Chris Harris Jr., S Justin Simmons (3)

COMPARING 2018 STATS

Colts:

  • Total offense — 7th (386.2 YPG)
  • Scoring offense — 5th (27.1 PPG)
  • Passing offense — 6th (278.8 YPG)
  • Sacks allowed — 1st (18)
  • Running offense — 20th (107.4 YPG)
  • Third down offense — 1st (48.6%)
  • Red zone offense — 5th (67.1%)
  • Total defense — 11th (339.4 YPG)
  • Scoring defense — 10th (21.5 PPG)
  • Passing defense — 16th (237.8 YPG)
  • Sacks — Tied-19th (38)
  • Running defense — 8th (101.6 YPG)
  • Third down defense — 23rd (41%)
  • Red zone defense — 11th (55.1%)
  • Time of possession — 18th (30:05)
  • Turnover differential — Tied-13th (2)

Broncos:

  • Total offense — 19th (350.1 YPG)
  • Scoring offense — 24th (20.6 PPG)
  • Passing offense — 19th (230.9 YPG)
  • Sacks allowed — 10th (34)
  • Running offense — 12th (119.2 YPG)
  • Third down offense — 28th (33%)
  • Red zone offense — 18th (56.8%)
  • Total defense — 22nd (365.1 YPG)
  • Scoring defense — 13th (21.8 PPG)
  • Passing defense — 20th (245.6 YPG)
  • Sacks — Tied-8th (44)
  • Running defense — 21st (119.6 YPG)
  • Third down defense — 17th (39%)
  • Red zone defense — 14th (58.1%)
  • Time of possession — 28th (28:58)
  • Turnover differential — 9th (+7)

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