INDIANAPOLIS—NBC's Cris Collinsworth is "honored" to broadcast this weekend's Colts and Broncos matchup.
On a Tuesday conference call, Collinsworth talked about the "passing of the torch" that he is envisioning with Peyton Manning making his return to Indianapolis this weekend.
Collinsworth lauds the play of Andrew Luck -- "he took a 2-14 team to the playoffs last year and he put up tremendous numbers so this is not a bit of magic" -- and Sunday will provide his first regular season broadcast of the Colts signal caller.
Of course it comes against Manning, a player who Collinsworth loves to see on his broadcasting schedule.
"I have to say that I studied harder for an Indy game when he was there or a Denver game now watching Peyton Manning then I do with any quarterback because I don't want to look stupid because I know he's going to do something that I'm going to go 'now what just happened there?' Collinsworth said earlier this week.
In describing Manning versus a given defense, Collinsworth uses the analogy of the 12-time Pro Bowler playing chess while the defense is playing checkers.
One area of concern that Collinsworth does have with Manning's return is how the former Colts quarterback will react to being back in Indianapolis.
"There's no way when he comes out of that tunnel with the welcome you think they're going to give, that he's not going to have a few tears in his eyes," Collinsworth said.
"I've got to think he's going to have to take a minute or so to piece it all back together. So that will be an interesting thing to watch at the beginning of the game."
Just over an hour before kickoff on Sunday night, former Patriots safety Rodney Harrison will take his seat across from Tony Dungy.
The two will be the final analysts to discuss the Colts and Broncos leading up to Sunday Night Football.
Harrison joined Collinsworth and Dungy on this week's conference call to talk about how his former teams went about defending Manning.
"When we started having success against Peyton is when we simplified everything," Harrison said. "Coach (Bill) Belichick said 'look we're going to play two or three different coverages. We're going to try to walk around this guy at least a basic coverage two, cover three and a cover one occasionally.'
"Once we simplified everything it was a lot easier because we didn't try to figure out the hand signals, we didn't try to figure out all the checks and the adjustments that Tony Dungy would try to confuse us with."
After years of being a Colts nemesis, Harrison offered some advice in how to limit Manning's production.
"Really all you have to do is play simple defenses, kind of jam the guys, put some pressure on Peyton – you got to put pressure on him and try to put pressure directly in his face," Harrison said.
"As good as he is, we had success in rattling Peyton and, you can make some plays off Peyton. He's a human being, he will make mistakes."