Colts and Broncos, Irsay Bowl III to Be Settled in the Playoffs

NFL NEWS: NFL Playoffs

Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning is 1-1 against his former team, the Indianapolis Colts and its fitting the third matchup is a playoff game.

The Colts will face the Broncos in this AFC divisional matchup at Mile High, Sunday. As Mannings replacement with the Colts, Andrew Luck is probably tired about hearing how he will fare against his predecessor as owner Jim Irsay‘s second franchise quarterback.

The first matchup ended a 39-33 last season in the Colts favor while the September 7th game this season ended in the Broncos favor 31-24.

The comparison between Luck and Manning are almost uncanny. In fewer completions and more throws, Luck surpassed Manning in yards thrown 4,761-4,727 and touchdowns 40-39 for the season. If Luck can beat Manning this time in the playoffs, chances are good he can win that Super Bowl (in his third season in the league) sooner than Manning did at this point of his career. The one thing Manning has on Luck this season is completion percentage at 66.2 to 61.7.

By the Numbers

Year 1 Completion % Passing Yards TD INT
Peyton Manning 56.7 3,739 26 28
Andrew Luck 54.1 4,374 23 18
Year 2
Peyton Manning 62.1 4,135 26 15
Andrew Luck 60.2 3,822 23 9
Year 3
Peyton Manning 62.5 4,413 33 15
Andrew Luck 61.7 4,761 40 16

 

Luck is posting career highs in passing yards and touchdowns this season. To gauge the difficulty of this accomplishment, Manning topped 4,700 passing yards and 40 touchdowns only twice in his 17-year career.

What to Look For

While its likely going to be a shootout, look for both the running game and the defense to come front and center as the keys to the game.

The Broncos average 10 more yards a game on the ground more than the Colts at 111.6 to 100.8. The Broncos also have a more balanced defense with the second best rushing defense surrendering 79.8 yards a game and ninth best passing defense with 225.4 yards a game. The Colts have given up more on the run for 18th in the league with 113.4 yards a game and only given up about four more yards through the air.

The Broncos are undefeated at home while the Colts are 5-3 on the road for the regular season. The Colts will be coming off a 26-10 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals in the wildcard round.

The key for a Broncos victory is to chew up clock using the running game and tire out the Colts defense. The key for a Colts victory is to keep pressure on Manning, score early and often while taking the crowd out of the game. Otherwise, the strategies are almost interchangeable.

Call it

Broncos, 31-27.

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About Tom

Tom Chang is a freelance journalist with a background in multimedia journalism and web publishing. He is currently pursuing his Masters in Journalism and Media Studies from the University of South Florida St.Petersburg. He graduated in 2004 with a Bachelors Degree in Mass Communications at USF Tampa. Tom's interests include a little bit of everything from entertainment to sports. He also wishes to delve into creative writing writing sci-fi/fantasy stories. Tom was recently the Online Editor for USF St. Petersburg's the Crow's Nest, he joined the staff in January 2010 where he started freelance writing, photographing, copy editing and later became a staff writer. Tom’s freelance experience in journalism amassed a wide range of companies including Creative Loafing, The Focus Magazine, Lutz News, Examiner.com, and Tampa Tribune.
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