After a tough loss to the Raiders, the Broncos look to quickly bounce back in a "Thursday Night Football" matchup with the Indianapolis Colts.
To get you ready for the big game, we rounded up score and spread predictions from NFL analysts. As a reminder, the Broncos are favored by 3.5 points.
Both struggling veteran quarterbacks had their best games of the season in losing Week 4 efforts. The difference is that Russell Wilson has better receivers, a better defense, a more cohesive offensive line and doesn't lead the league in fumbles by three. The Colts were struggling to run the ball with Jonathan Taylor, so there's not much hope for them with him out of the lineup.
Projected score: Broncos 20, Colts 15
The Colts have struggled in a lot of ways this season, going 1-2-1 with the heat on the coaching staff and front office. The health of running back Jonathan Taylor bears watching in this one. Even so, he hasn't been as effective. The Broncos have played well on defense, but their offense has struggled. At home, on a short week, Russell Wilson will find a way to win it.
Projected score: Broncos 24, Colts 20
The Broncos dropped a tough game at the Raiders in Week 5 and also lost running back Javonte Williams (knee) for the season. The good news is, they got Russell Wilson going in the downfield passing game and face a struggling back seven in coverage this week. The Colts at best will have a banged-up Jonathan Taylor (ankle) in the backfield and will be playing another game without defensive leader Shaquille Leonard (concussion). They have been awful on the road this season and Matt Ryan will have a mostly rough night.
Projected score: Broncos 24, Colts 13
One big difference between these two low-scoring teams is turnovers. The Colts are tied for second-most in the N.F.L. with nine so far this season, while the Broncos have only four. Two of those Denver turnovers, however, were fumbles by running back Melvin Gordon, including one last week that the Raiders converted into a touchdown. With Williams out, and a short week to get ready, the Broncos need Gordon to figure out how to hold on to the football.
Pick: Broncos -3
I think the Colts' offense will figure it out eventually, but it won't come on a short week against one of the best defenses in the NFL. The Colts' defense will also be without All-Pro linebacker Shaquille Leonard, who broke his nose and suffered a concussion against the Titans. As much as Wilson has struggled with the Broncos early, I trust him to perform better than Ryan.
Projected score: Broncos 28, Colts 24
Both of these teams will play without starting running backs. Javonte Williams will miss the remainder of the Denver Broncos season with a torn ACL. On Wednesday, the Indianapolis Colts announced that Jonathan Taylor will sit out with an ankle injury.
Projected score: Broncos 16, Colts 14
This feels like a huge game for both of these teams. The Colts are showing a bunch of signs that suggest they might just be a terrible team. They've been outscored by 42 points in the first halves of their four games—the second-worst differential in the NFL. Matt Ryan leads the NFL with nine fumbles. And they very easily could be 0-3-1, if the Chiefs didn't hand them a win in Week 3. Now the Colts go to Denver without running back Jonathan Taylor and linebacker Shaquille Leonard. The Broncos have been shaky as well, but I like what I've seen from their defense. It's hard to see a scenario where the Colts move the ball consistently against that group.
Pick: Broncos -3.5