INDIANAPOLIS (1-2-1) AT DENVER (2-2)
TV: Amazon Prime, 8:15 p.m.
Line: Denver by 3; O/U: 43.5
They traded for an established quarterback. They have underachieved through the first month. They hope to turn things around Thursday night. Quick, which team am I talking about? If you answered the Colts, you’re right. If you answered the Broncos, you’re also right.
It’s Matt Ryan and Indianapolis vs. Russell Wilson and Denver in a tough matchup to predict. I haven’t backed either team yet, resulting in a 6-2 record against the spread, as both are 1-3 in that regard. So, what do I do when I’m forced to pick one? Keep it simple.
In what feels like a close game between two teams fighting to avoid a third loss this early, side with the home team on a short week. The Broncos lost their top running back, Javonte Williams, for the season and Wilson is dealing with a shoulder injury, but he’s going to play. In last week’s 32-23 loss at Las Vegas, Wilson and the passing game finally got going a bit: 17-for-25 for 237 yards, 2 TDs and no INTs. That should continue against a Colts defense that has just one pick and again will be playing without its top player, linebacker Shaquille Leonard. The Colts’ best offensive player, running back Jonathan Taylor, also won’t play.
Indianapolis’ one win was a fluke result against Kansas City in which everything went its way. In its three other games, it tied at Houston, got shut out at Jacksonville and lost last week at home to Tennessee. The Colts have given you no reason to back them.
I don’t like either team in this matchup, but Wilson has a strong track record of elevating his game on Thursday nights (9-2 record with 21 TDs to 5 INTs) and Denver isn’t an easy place to play.
The pick: Denver
Tom Rock: Denver
Al Iannazzone: Denver