Peyton Manning returns to Indianapolis for the second time as a member of the Denver Broncos to face the reeling Colts on Sunday afternoon.
The Colts (3-5), losers of three straight, are in the midst of their longest losing streak since 2011. Indianapolis enters on the heels of a 29-26 overtime loss to the Carolina Panthers on Monday night, in which quarterback Andrew Luck struggled once again, throwing three interceptions. With the offense continuing to perform below expectations, the team decided to replace offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton with fellow assistant Rob Chudzinski on Tuesday.
More from FoxSports
The Broncos (7-0), who knocked off the previously undefeated Green Bay Packers last week, are off to their best start since 1998. Manning, who played 13 years with Colts has an opportunity to break two records on Sunday's. The future Hall of Famer can set the all-time mark with his 187th regular season win. He's also 284 yards from breaking Brett Favre's record for career passing yards.
Here are three keys to the game for both the Broncos and the Colts.
Can you beat the Crowd's Line? Submit your final score prediction below. Good luck!
1. Let 'er rip, Peyton Manning
"The Sheriff" is finding his groove (21-of-29, 340 yards vs. Green Bay), but still couldn't find the end zone. Maybe the three-touchdown outings he was always good for are no longer a thing. Or maybe, a clash against the NFL's 28th-ranked pass defense could continue that trend.
2. Make Andrew Luck pay for so many pass attempts
NFL defenders are going to target weak spots -- that's just a harsh reality. So the Colts quarterback might want to sport a flak jacket with heavier padding this week. His injured ribs could take a beating from oncoming Broncos, especially if he throws 30-plus fourth-quarter passes for a second straight week.
3. Give Michael Schofield a little help at left tackle
Ty Sambrailo (shoulder) went down for the year and the Broncos are down to their third left tackle of 2015. Michael Schofield is now tabbed with keeping good rushers like Henry Anderson and Trent Cole off Peyton Manning. It will help if a tight end or running back is there to clean up some inevitable mistakes.
1. Start fast
Last week against the Panthers, the Colts continued their season-long trend of playing poorly in the first half before rallying in the third and fourth quarter. That's not a formula for success in the NFL, and certainly not against Denver's top-rated defense. Indianapolis needs to find a way to grab an early lead so Luck isn't forced to attempt yet another comeback.
2. Run, run, run
The Broncos have the NFL's best defense, allowing just 261.1 yards per game. That includes allowing a league-low 179.9 passing yards per game. The Colts will undoubtedly continue to pass because, well, they're the Colts, but Luck leads the league in interceptions with 12. That's why it would be wise for Chudzinski to give Frank Gore a decent number of carries. Gore has only carried the ball more than 20 times a game twice this season. As the Colts look to solve their offensive issues, allowing Gore to play a featured role will help take the pressure off Luck.
3. Put Vontae on Demaryius
Demaryius Thomas, Manning's favorite target, is coming off a season-high 168-yard day against the Packers. He's fourth in the league in receptions with 56, and sixth in receiving yards with 695. If Davis, the Colts' Pro Bowl corner, can limit his productivity, it gives the Indianapolis defense a much better chance to keep things close.