Dec 28, 2014; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Broncos outside linebacker Von Miller (58) and mascot Miles fist bump following the win over the Oakland Raiders in the fourth quarter at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. The Broncos defeated the Raiders 47-14. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
This Sunday, if you haven’t heard, the Denver Broncos will host the Indianapolis Colts for the second time this season. Only, this time, the stakes are much, much higher.
Not only will the winner of this divisional round showdown get to play in the AFC championship game versus either the New England Patriots or the Baltimore Ravens, but they’ll get to play for a chance to go to the Super Bowl.
In Week One, back in September, the Broncos jumped out to a quick 24-7 halftime lead before their offense completely stalled. Gunslinger turned quarterback Andrew Luck led the Colts on a furious rally and fell just short, 31-24.
Fast forward a full season’s worth of games, and things are vastly different for both teams.
Each has improved on both sides of the ball. Notably for Indy, the insertion of second year running back Daniel “Boom” Herron has given their offense a spark. He’s just as great a receiving threat as he is a runner coming out of the backfield.
The Broncos, in particular, have had different players in and out of starting lineups on a week to week basis. Between that and their huge midseason offensive game plan change, the Colts will barely be able to recognize the team that they played in the season opener.
Thus, individual battles will be all too important come Sunday.
Here are five key matchups for watch for when the Broncos host the Colts.