Of course, Indy won't be the home favorites this week; losing to the Chargers on Monday Night Football likely pushed Vegas to a seven-point spread (on the road, so … Denver's really a neutral 10-point favorite). Had Indy won on the road, their 5-1 record would likely have pushed the spread a lot lower.
Jim Irsay vs. Peyton Manning. Jim Irsay vs. John Fox . Peyton Manning vs. Andrew Luck. We prefer to think of it as Peyton Manning vs. Indy and Andrew Luck vs. Denver. While everyone is billing it as the horsepowered matchup of one legendary quarterback against the next great one, the reality is Manning gets to work on another overmatched defense in his return.
On paper, it looks like Manning draws a much tougher matchup vs. the No. 5 pass defense, while Luck faces No. 32. The Colts, however, haven't faced a veteran passer of Manning's ilk. It's true the Broncos have been giving up chunks of yards and points, but Von Miller returns just in time to get in Luck's face.
Spoiler: people are not picking Indy to win this one. Still, a few points of interest:
- common opponents: Jacksonville. One team allowed 3 points, and it wasn't Denver.
- Denver's 2-0 on the road this year, against … New York and Dallas. New York is easily the saddest story of 2013. Dallas could have won, and they're 3-3.
- teams over .500 Denver has played against: 0
- toughest opponent: Baltimore (3-3)
I'm just saying …
- Indy won 37-3 against the Jags – in Jacksonville – while Denver won 35-19 … in Denver.
- Indy's 2-1 at home this year, against Seattle, Miami, and Oakland. Those three teams have 11 wins among them.
- teams over .500 Indy has played against: 3
- toughest opponent: Seattle (6-1)
And one of those teams is picked by 7 points on the road against the other. I'm not saying Indy will win, or that Luck will outplay Manning, or that Indy's defense, while porous, will force turnovers … but rather, that they'll still be in this game late Sunday.