- Watch for the Colts to deploy multiple running backs and/or tight ends—including Jack Doyle—in attempt to trip up the Broncos' defense.
Three things to know ahead of Colts-Broncos on Week 15 Thursday Night Football...
1. The entire NFL agrees: The way to play against the Broncos’ still-star-studded defense is in base personnel, with multiple backs and/or tight ends on the field—so expect the Colts to deploy H-back Jack Doyle plenty in this game. Denver has sturdy linebackers in Brandon Marshall and Todd Davis, but both—especially Davis—can be exploited in downfield coverage. Line up in base, motion Doyle to the wing or slot and see if you can create favorable downfield matchups. And let’s not forget, Indianapolis has a decent base personnel ground game. The O-line is suspect, but Frank Gore is still one of the best at setting up and maximizing his blocks. Denver’s run D is reeling with defensive tackles Domata Peko banged up (he missed last week’s game against Miami, but did practice this week) and Derek Wolfe out due to a neck injury.
2. Colts QB Jacoby Brissett has tremendous upside, but he must get quicker in his reads and decision-making. He’s a fastball thrower who can attack the full width of the field, and he’s big enough (and willing) to hang in the pocket. Also, he has the mobility to scramble—something the Broncos, who play a lot of man coverage, must note. With Andrew Luck’s injury, it’s been a bad year in Indianapolis. But the silver lining is, once Luck returns, the Colts will have two quality starting QBs on their roster.
3. The future of Denver’s current QB, Trevor Siemian, is as a backup. The reason: Siemian is a highly schemed, play-action reliant QB who needs near-perfect conditions around him in order to play well. If the ground game isn’t working, or if receivers aren’t consistently showing open within the timing of the play, Siemian won’t move the offense up and down the field—in fact, he might take it off the field. Siemian’s biggest problem has been the turnovers that result from him forcing plays.
Bold Prediction: T.Y. Hilton will have less than four catches. The Broncos don’t travel their corners, so Indy can decide Hilton’s matchups by where he aligns. But none of the matchups are favorable. Hilton can’t handle the physicality of Aqib Talib and Bradley Roby outside. Inside, Chris Harris is one of the few slot corners who can hang with him.