Colts-Broncos first look: Andrew Luck, Peyton Manning throw down again
Indianapolis (12-5) at Denver (12-4), 4:40 pm, CBS
This may be the game in which Peyton Manning unofficially passes the elite-quarterback torch to his successor in Indianapolis. But the Colts and Andrew Luck will have to pry that title from Manning's hand with a better performance than in the 2014 season-opener. The Colts fell behind by 21 points before a fourth-quarter rally fell short in a 31-24 loss.
Since then, Luck proceeded to break the Colts' single-season passing record once held by Manning while carrying the Indianapolis offense on his right shoulder. Luck was stellar again in Sunday's 26-10 home win over Cincinnati, completing 31 of 44 passes for 376 yards with one touchdown and no interceptions.
Manning had another outstanding campaign in 2014 himself although questions persist about whether his arm strength will be good enough in January to lift Denver back into the Super Bowl. There is no doubt that Denver's defense is much improved from 2013.
The emergence of unheralded running back C.J. Anderson has brought more balance into the Broncos offense. Denver also does enjoy a true home-field advantage with a perfect record at Sports Authority Field during the regular season.