Colts Broncos Playoffs

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Divisional Playoff



The last Divisional playoff Game of the weekend is in the AFC and features Andrew LUck and the Colts visiting Peyton Manning and the Broncos in a rematch of a week one Game that saw the Broncos come out on top by a score of 31-24 (Broncos led 31-10 at one point). Currently the Broncos are either -7 even or -6.5 depending on the sportsbook. The total is 54.

The storyline when these two meet of course, is Peyton Manning vs. his old team and the young kid who took his place. Rightly so. Two super QB’s and while Peyton Manning has ACComplished just about all a player could hope for, Andrew LUck is still on his way up. Wouldn’t it be sweet for Mr. LUck to take this next step and advaNCe to a Championship Game while taking down Peyton Manning at the same time? LUck has never advaNCed past this round. He’s 2-2 in the playoffs losing to FlACCo and Brady while beating Alex Smith and Andy Dalton.

So can LUck get it done? Well, no question these are two great QB’s but obviously the supporting cast will have a lot to do with the outcome and the BroNCo supporting cast may simply be better than the Colts supporting cast in this one.

What the Broncos have that the Colts do not, to go along with their great QB and offense, is a DEFENSE. Now, there are many ways to judge a defense. If you read these pages regularly, you know we like to use yards per point numbers. Unfortunately, the Broncos defensive yards per point number is, well, bad. It’s 13.8. By far the worst of all remaining playoff teams.

But yet, in other important defensive statistical categories, the Broncos are among the best. How about # 3 overall in yards given up per Game. #2 against the run behind only Seattle. So what’s up with that lousy yards per point number? Well, that’s one of the reasons we like the ypp number so much. It’s a complete snapshot of a team on both sides of the ball and in this case, it indicates a problem elsewhere with the Broncos.

Whenever you see a team at the top of the charts defensively yet they have a lousy ypp number, you can generally attribute that to special teams (field position) and red zone performance. In the Broncos case, teams Scorea TD in the red zone 57.6% of the time. Only 10 teams were worse than the Broncos in that category. Fortunately for them, one of those teams was the Colts who rank dead last at 66%. We can even take that a step further here as the Colts number on the road is 80%. Now that’s bad folks. So perhaps we can discard poor redzone performance here.

Our NFL model predicts the following scores:

Using full season data – Broncos 36 Colts 24

Using last 7 Games only – Broncos 30 Colts 18

Using last 4 Games only – Broncos 27 Colts 15

That’s an across the board sweep for the model. All Broncos. Also note that the Colts are the only remaining playoff team with a neGAtive turnover differential number (-5). It’s rare to see teams with a neGAtive differential advaNCe much further in the playoffs.

Packers +14
Pats +12
Seahawks +10
Cowboys +6
Broncos +5
Panthers +3
Ravens +2
Colts -5

LUck is a very good QB and a win for him would be a nice story. However, he can’t do it by himself and in this spot, the Broncos would appear to have the much better supporting cast, to go along with a very significant home field advantage. The back door will always be a threat in any Game LUck is in, however at -7 or less, the Broncos would seem to be the logical choice. Broncos -7

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