Sep 16, 2012; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Indianapolis Colts fans have a sign that supports both Peyton Manning and Andrew Luck during the game against the Minnesota Vikings at Lucas Oil Stadium. Indianapolis defeats Minnesota 23-20. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports
KUSA - Five things to watch for in the Denver Broncos game on Sunday night at Indianapolis (kickoff 6:40 p.m. on KUSA-9):
HEAD GAMES: Peyton Manning's ability to call plays at the line of scrimmage is second to none. Reggie Wayne, Robert Mathis and Antoine Bethea saw Manning do it in practice and on games days for nearly a decade. Colts coach Chuck Pagano plans to take advantage of that expertise this weekend, but it's unclear how much it will help. Wayne told reporters this week that his insights would be irrelevant because Manning would "change it anyway." But watching the mind games between Manning and his ex-teammates should be one of the night's more intriguing matchups.
NO. 1 vs. NO. 1: The Andrew Luck-Manning showdown will be the feature attraction of Week 7, and with good reason. This is the first time in the common draft era that two quarterbacks drafted No. 1 overall by the same franchise played for that team and later met in a game. John Elway and Jeff George were also taken No. 1 overall by the Colts and squared off four times, but Elway was traded to Denver without ever playing for the Colts. Manning and Luck also happen be two of the league's best.
KEEPING UP WITH THE BRONCOS: Denver's 44.2 points per game translates into more than 700 points over the 16-game schedule. At that rate, most opponents will be forced into playing catch-up. The trick for Indy will be controlling the ball. As the Colts have repeatedly said, they want this team to be more balanced between run and pass, and the addition of Trent Richardson should help that transformation. If the Colts control the clock, they could control the game.
FINAL IMPRESSIONS: Everybody knows about Manning's late-game heroics. But Luck has been every bit as good since coming into the league last season. His seventh fourth-quarter comebacks in 2012 set a rookie record and were tied for the most by any quarterback since 1970. Luck has produced two more fourth-quarter rallies this season, and this time he's getting some help from the defense, which has allowed just 13 points in the fourth quarter of the first six games.
HOME, SWEET, HOME: Indy has traditionally been one of the league's best home teams, and Luck has only added to the reputation by going 9-2 since last season. But Manning has been every bit as comfortable at Lucas Oil Stadium, which many credit him for getting the funding to build. Manning was 19-5 at the retractable-roof stadium from 2008-10, and until last season, one of the Manning quarterbacks had won in Indy every season since 1998 (Eli won the Super Bowl in Indy after the 2011 season when Peyton sat out the year).
Could it happen this weekend? Stay tuned.
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