Wednesday September 3rd, 2014

Indianapolis Colts vs. Denver Broncos

In their first game since a 43-8 loss at the hands of the Seahawks in Super Bowl XLIII, the Denver Broncos return home to face Peyton Manning's former team, the Indianapolis Colts. In Andrew Luck's sophomore season, the Colts went 11-5 for the second straight year. In each of Luck's first two seasons, the Colts have made the playoffs, winning the AFC South in 2013 and earning a wild card spot in 2012.

Kickoff: 8:30 p.m. ET

Live stream: NFL Redzone

​TV coverage: NBC

Radio: For the Broncos affiliates, click here. For the Colts affiliates, click here.

Game Facts

Broncos facts

Pat Bowlen relinquished ownership of the team during the offseason after acknowledging he has Alzheimer's disease. This will be the first time the Broncos have an owner not named Bowlen since 1984. Team president Joe Ellis takes over for Bowlen.

The Broncos are coming off one of the worst Super Bowl losses in history. The 35-point margin of defeat was tied for the third-largest in Super Bowl history.

Denver is facing the suspensions of receiver Wes Welker, linebacker Von Miller and kicker Matt Prater. Welker and Prater are both out four games for failed drug tests, while Miller will miss six for multiple DUI arrests.

Former Steelers receiver Emmanuel Sanders was signed to a three-year deal, worth as much as $18 million, this offseason.

The Broncos will face the second-toughest schedule in 2014. The Raiders are the only team with a more difficult schedule.

Peyton Manning set records last season in both passing yards and touchdowns. He threw for 5,477 yards and 55 touchdowns with just 11 interceptions. Manning out-threw Drew Brees' 2011 season by just one yard that he gained on the last day of the regular season. His 55 TDs bested Tom Brady's 2007 mark by five.

To open Denver's 13-3 season last year, the Broncos beat the Baltimore Ravens 49-27 behind Manning's 462 passing yards and seven touchdowns.

Since 2004, Denver has gone 6-4 in season openers.

The Broncos are 14-2 at home during the past two seasons.

The Broncos and Colts played on Sunday Night Football last season, with Indianapolis delivering one of Denver's three losses. 

Colts facts

Andrew Luck cut his interception total in half from his rookie season, from 18 to nine.

Running back Trent Richardson went from 950 yards in 2012 to 563 in 2013 with eight fewer touchdowns. He was acquired midseason from the Cleveland Browns.

The Colts did not have a first-round pick in the 2014 draft. The Colts selected guard Jack Mewhart in the second round, and he's scheduled to start at left guard in the season opener.

The last 1,000-yard rusher in Indianapolis was Joseph Addai in 2007.

Tight end Coby Fleener is another Stanford product entering his third season. As with Luck, Fleener saw significantly increased numbers in 2013. He caught 52 passes, twice as many as 2012, for 608 yards.

The Colts' offense ranked among the middle of the pack in the NFL last season. It averaged 341.8 yards per game, 15th in the NFL, and 24.4 points per game, tied for 14th.

Indianapolis' defense ranked 19th in yards allowed but sixth in points allowed, giving up 21 per game.

The Colts faired well on the road last season, going 5-3. They lost on the road in the playoffs to the Patriots in the divisional round.

In season-openers since 2004, Indianapolis has gone 5-5.

Chuck Pagano enters his third season as Colts coach with a 22-10 record.

- Evan Webeck

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