Quarterback play has been the unifying issue for these two teams – the Colts lost theirs to injury, and the Broncos never found theirs.
Trevor Siemian, who led the Broncos to their win over the Jets last week, will be back at the helm for Denver. Jacoby Brissett will once again be under center for the Colts, who dropped a hard-fought 13-7 decision to the Bills in the snow.
Siemian has been inconsistent, to say the least, for Denver this season, and his seen his starting role threatened by Paxton Lynch and Brock Osweiler.
But Siemian earned the right to start again this week after completing 19 of 31 passes for 230 yards and a touchdown in the Broncos’ 23-0 whitewashing of the Jets.
"I was proud of how he managed the football game," Joseph said after the 23-0 shutout. "That’s his job. He was careful with the football. He put us in good plays and he converted third downs. So, to stick with Trevor, that was easy for me because he’s earned that right.”
Denver’s offense will go up against a Colt defense that ranks near the bottom of the league in nearly every statistical category. Indianapolis is 31st in points allowed (26.4), 29th in total yards (375.3), 30th against the pass (257.8 yards per game) and 23rd against the run (117.5 YPG).
Wide receiver Demaryius Thomas has been Siemian’s favorite target, and has caught 68 passes for 771 yards and four touchdowns on the season. Thomas had eight receptions for 93 yards and a score in the win over the Jets. Emmanuel Sanders has also been productive with 40 catches for 487 yards and two touchdowns.
C.J. Anderson gets the bulk of the touches on the ground, and has responded with 700 yards on 181 carries and two scores.
While Denver’s offense has struggled throughout most of the season, its defense certainly has not lived up to expectations. The Broncos are 22nd in the league in total defense, and are paced by Von Miller’s 10 sacks.
Brissett has been serviceable filling in for the injured Andrew Luck, and has completed 228 of 381 passes for 2,611 yards, 11 touchdowns and seven interceptions. He struggled mightily last week against the Bills in the driving snow, completing just 11 of 22 passes for 69 yards and a score. He has passed for over 250 yards in each of the teams three wins.
Tight end Jack Doyle is the Colts’ leading receiver and has 64 receptions for 564 yards and three touchdowns. Frank Gore continues to be a threat on the ground and has racked up 762 yards rushing on 210 carries with three scores.
Indianapolis has continued to flounder on defense, and is currently on track for the third pick in the 2018 NFL Draft.
How to watch Broncos (4-9) at Colts (3-10)
Date: Thursday, December 14th, 2017
Time: 8:25 p.m. ET
Location: Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis, Indiana
TV Channels: NBC, NFLN, Amazon Prime
SB Nation Coverage: Mile High Report and Stampede Blue
Online Streaming: NBC Sports will be streaming the game, as will Amazon Prime Video. International viewers can use NFL Game Pass.
Radio: Country 97.1 HANK FM Live Online Radio Stream. Westwood One Sports will air the game across the country. Ian Eagle (play-by-play) and Boomer Esiason (analyst) will call the action and Scott Graham will host pregame and halftime shows.
Announcers: Mike Tirico (play-by-play), Cris Collinsworth (color analyst) and Heather Cox (sideline reporter).
Odds: Broncos: -2; over/under: 40.5 (Bovada)