Cincinnati.com
National Football League
Preview
Denver at Indianapolis
When: 8:25 PM ET, Thursday, December 14, 2017
Where: Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis, Indiana

The Indianapolis Colts still may be thawing out after competing in blizzard-like conditions last week while the Denver Broncos ended an ice-cold stretch of eight straight losses with a shutout in their last contest. Two teams with little on the line find themselves playing on a short week at Lucas Oil Stadium on Thursday.

"It's a challenge. Guys like playing football. Guys like playing on prime time. Our guys are excited about having an opportunity to play on Thursday," said Colts coach Chuck Pagano, who watched his team sustain its fourth straight loss with a 13-7 overtime setback in snowy Buffalo. Indianapolis ranks 30th in the NFL in scoring at 16.3 points per game and faces a stingy Denver defense that is yielding a league-best 280.5 yards per game and second-best 191.1 yards through the air. The Broncos improved upon those numbers in emphatic fashion last Sunday, limiting the New York Jets to just 100 yards of offense (59 rushing, 41 passing) in a 23-0 rout of the New York Jets. "To see nothing but smiles, we want to keep this feeling," safety Darian Stewart said. "We want to go into Indy with a fresh mind and leave there with a win."

TV: 8:25 p.m. ET, NBC, NFL Network. LINE: Broncos -2.5. O/U: 40.5

ABOUT THE BRONCOS (4-9): Trevor Siemian answered three-interception performances in each of his previous two starts with a turnover-free effort versus the Jets. "There's going to be times in the game you're smart, but you're aggressive at the same time," the 25-year-old Siemian said. "There's been a couple of times this year where I've been stupid and aggressive, which you can't be. You just want to have a good process." Siemian aims to take advantage of a Colts defense that is ranked 31st in points allowed per game (26.4) and 30th in both total yards (375.3) and passing yards (257.8). Demaryius Thomas reeled in eight receptions against the Jets for the second time in a six-game stretch, during which he has found the end zone four times.

ABOUT THE COLTS (3-10): Frank Gore isn't interested in any talk about his age, and the veteran running back showed he's still up to the task by rushing a career-high 36 times for 130 yards last week versus the Bills. The 34-year-old needs 59 scrimmage yards to join Hall of Famer Emmitt Smith as the only players in NFL history with at least 12-plus consecutive seasons with 1,000 yards. Jack Doyle found the end zone in the snow last week, and his 64 receptions rank second amongst tight ends.

EXTRA POINTS

1. Indianapolis WR T.Y. Hilton has been limited to just nine catches for 109 yards in his last four games.

2. Broncos RB C.J. Anderson has averaged 183 scrimmage yards in his last two meetings with the Colts.

3. Colts LB Jabaal Sheard leads the team with 4.5 sacks, although none have come in the last four games.

PREDICTION: Broncos 19, Colts 16
Stats and Records
Team Comparison
  W‑L Strk PF PA Home Away Grass Turf OT Div Conf
Denver 4-9 W1 17.6 24.2 4-3 0-6 4-8 0-1 - - 3-7
Indianapolis 3-10 L4 16.3 26.4 2-4 1-6 0-3 0-1 - - 2-7
Last Meeting
Denver Indianapolis
Date Away Home Tot Rus Pas Tot Rus Pas
9/18/16 IND 20 DEN 34 400 134 266 253 83 170
Player Stats
Previous Matchup
Passing Player COMP % YDS TD INT
Denver T. Siemian 66.7 266 0 1
Indianapolis A. Luck 52.5 197 1 1
Rushing Player CAR YDS AVG TD
Denver C. Anderson 20 74 3.7 1
Indianapolis F. Gore 13 44 3.4 0
Receiving Player REC YDS AVG TD
Denver D. Thomas 5 90 18.0 0
Indianapolis T. Hilton 4 41 10.2 0
Touchdowns Player TD
Denver C. Anderson 1
Indianapolis F. Gore 1
Season
Passing Player COMP % YDS TD INT
Denver T. Siemian 59.1 2218 12 13
Indianapolis J. Brissett 59.8 2611 11 7
Rushing Player CAR YDS AVG TD
Denver C. Anderson 181 700 3.9 2
Indianapolis F. Gore 210 762 3.6 3
Receiving Player REC YDS AVG TD
Denver D. Thomas 68 771 11.3 4
Indianapolis T. Hilton 43 811 18.9 4
Touchdowns Player TD
Denver D. Thomas 4
Indianapolis T. Hilton 4