The duel between the New York Giants and the Green Bay Packers on Sunday at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London highlights Week 5 of the 2022 NFL season. However, the battle between the Indianapolis Colts and the Denver Broncos tonight might prove just as interesting.
Colts running back Jonathan Taylor escapes from Jacksonville Jaguars defensive back Foye Oluokun. The Colts will face the Denver Broncos without Taylor in Thursday Night Football. (Image: IndyStar)
Both teams come into this match with a loss last week, so a win here has more significance. Neither team is meeting expectations so far, with the Colts particularly finding heat. Their performance is so off that analyst Stephen A. thinks they could be “the biggest disappointment in the NFL.”
This game comes in following a short week of rest, which means neither team has had a solid week of practice. The Broncos have pulled off some big plays this season, but the Colts defense might have a few surprises waiting tonight.
Colts To Miss Key Starter
Colts All-Pro running back Jonathan Taylor will miss his first game tonight due to injury. It is the first injury absence in six years, dating back to his college days at the University of Wisconsin.
His only absence until now was for personal reasons. Joining Taylor on the bench with injuries are linebacker Shaquille Leonard, safety Julian Blackmon and defensive end Tyquan Lewis.
The Colts enter this week ranked 27th in rushing yards per game, at 87.8, and per carry, with 3.5. This is nowhere near where they were last season, when Taylor led the NFL with 1,811 rushing yards and the Colts led the league in rushing yards.
For their part, the Broncos have lost starting running back Javonte Williams for the rest of the season after suffering a torn right anterior cruciate ligament. He joins defensive end Randy Gregory on injured reserve.
Denver is also without linebackers Jonathon Cooper and Aaron Patrick; safety PJ Locke is in concussion protocol. This all spells trouble for the Broncos defense.
Following these injuries, Denver signed veteran running back Latavius Murray from the New Orleans Saints. He played for the Saints in their 28-25 loss to the Vikings in London on Sunday after being lifted from the practice squad for the game. Murray rushed for 57 yards on 11 carries and scored a touchdown, although it wasn’t enough to give the Saints a win.
However, not even adding Murray will give the Broncos a lot to look forward to offensively. Both teams’ offenses are giving only lackluster performances.
Ryan Wilson is dealing with a shoulder injury, which could make a difference for Denver. Matt Ryan has only been marginally successful for the Colts. This is why defensive stands become more critical in tonight’s game.
Which Horse Has A Better Kick
The Broncos found support from oddsmakers in the game, getting -165 on DraftKings and -178 at Caesars. The Colts come in as underdogs, at +140 and +150, respectively.
The underdogs could take the game, although it won’t be a pretty battle. Even the books expect more defensive action, listing the over/under at just 42. That total might even be too high.
The over is nine for nine for the Colts, including five road games. When these two have faced off, the under has hit 10 of 14 times. A low-scoring game with the Colts producing a better kick is likely.
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