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|
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.