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Predictions & Projections
By David M. Dorey
 
The Huddle
WILDCARD
December 31, 2003
Playoff Ticket
Saturday
Sunday
4:30 PM, ABC at Ravens Stadium
1:00 PM, FOX at Lambeau Field
8:00 PM, ABC at Ericsson Stadium
4:30 PM, CBS at RCA Dome
   
Denver at Indianapolis  
  Denver Rush Catch Pass
QB Jake Plummer 0 0 190,1
RB Clinton Portis 120,2 20 0
TE Shannon Sharpe 0 40 0
WR Rod Smith 0 50 0
WR Ed McCaffrey 0 20 0
WR Ashley Lelie 0 60,1 0
  Indianapolis Rush Catch Pass
QB Peyton Manning 0 0 270,2
RB Edgerrin James 70,1 10 0
TE Marcus Pollard 0 50,1 0
WR Brandon Stokley 0 40 0
WR Marvin Harrison 0 110,1 0
WR Reggie Wayne 0 30 0

Game Prediction: DEN 27, IND 24

The Broncos and Colts played each other only two weeks ago with Denver winning 31-17.

In that game Clinton Portis did not play but Quentin Griffin ran for 136 yards on 28 carries and Mike Anderson added 56 yards on 19 carries with one touchdown. Jake Plummer threw for 238 yards and one score to Rod Smith but the best receiver was Ashley Lelie who gained 115 yards on five carries.

This time around Clinton Portis has proclaimed himself 100% healthy. That is not a great thing for the Colts.

Against the Broncos, Peyton Manning only threw for 146 yards and had no scores. Edgerrin James scored one touchdown but only had 42 yards on ten carries. The Broncos were able to consume the clock with their 47 runs and keep Indianapolis off the field. No reason why that will not happen again this week.

Look for plenty of rushing by the Broncos featuring a heavy dose of Clinton Portis who should see plenty of success against the Colts. With the increased awareness of the defense against the run, that will make the play action fakes more effective and should allow Plummer to have an efficient game. He will not likely throw for a lot of yardage since the Broncos do not want to get into a shoot-out, but he could toss one or two scores.

The Colts offensive fortunes will rely on getting the ball down the field more quickly and gain an advantage on the score board. They cannot afford to get into a rushing war against the Broncos. Manning will post better numbers this time since the Colts need to come out throwing in order to be successful and prevent the Broncos from running the entire game.

The final tilt in this matchup is that the Broncos have a far better defense than Indianapolis who has struggled these final weeks. Indianapolis peaked a little too early this year and Manning's knock that he cannot win the big game will continue but less from his own fault than that of the defense.

Team Comparisons - Current team rankings (1-32) for FF points scored or allowed by position
Rank (1-32)
QB
RB
WR
TE
PK
DEF
DEN Scores
15
2
29
2
6
27
IND Allows
21
14
21
4
10
4
DEN AP
6
12
-8
2
4
-23
Rank (1-32)
QB
RB
WR
TE
PK
DEF
IND Scores
13
12
3
6
4
20
DEN Allows
11
2
7
16
22
6
IND AP
-2
-10
4
10
18
-14
Offensive ranks = #1 gains most points, Defensive ranks = #1 allows least points
AP = Advantage Points, the net difference between a positional rank gained or allowed by the teams.
DEN
IND
2003 Game Averages
IND
DEN
Gains
Allows
QB's
Gains
Allows
213
185
Pass yards
262
179
1.2
1.3
Pass TDs
1.7
0.7
0.8
0.8
Interceptions
0.2
0.3
14
13
Rush yards
3
13
0.3
0.7
Rush TDs
0.0
0.3
---
---
RB's
---
---
184
104
Rush yards
107
64
1.7
0.8
Rush TDs
1.3
0.5
26
29
Receive yards
29
22
0.2
0.2
Receive TD's
0.0
0.0
---
---
WR's
---
---
120
129
Receive yards
185
124
0.3
1.2
Receive TD's
1.5
0.5
---
---
TE's
---
---
67
28
Receive yards
48
33
0.7
0.0
Receive TD's
0.3
0.2
---
---
PK's
---
---
1.5
0.8
Field Goals
1.8
1.8
3.3
3.2
Extra Points
3.3
1.5
---
---
DEF/ST
---
---
0.7
0.7
Fumbles
1.2
0.2
0.3
0.2
Interceptions
0.7
0.8
0.2
0.2
Touchdowns
0.2
0.2
2.2
1.8
Sacks
2.0
1.5
0.0
0.0
Safeties
0.0
0.2
Broncos (10-6)
Score Opp.
30-10 @CIN
37-13 @SD
31-10 OAK
20-16 DET
23-24 @KC
17-14 PIT
20-28 @MIN
6-26 @BAL
26-30 NE
Week 10 BYE
37-8 SD
10-19 CHI
22-8 @OAK
45-27 KC
23-20 CLE
31-17 @IND
3-31 @GB
Colts (12-4)
Score Opp.
9-6 @CLE
33-7 TEN
23-13 JAX
55-21 @NO
38-35 @TB
20-23 CAR
Week 7 BYE
30-21 HOU
23-17 @MIA
23-28 @JAX
38-31 NYJ
17-14 @BUF
34-38 NE
29-27 @TEN
38-7 ATL
17-31 DEN
20-17 @HOU

* Fantasy point rankings calculated using standard Huddle fantasy points