Few games so far in the 2013 NFL season, if any, rival tonight’s Sunday Night showdown between the Denver Broncos and Indianapolis Colts. If NBC doesn’t see a record rating for this evening’s 8:30 EST / 5:30 PST kickoff, it’ll only be because people are scrambling to watch Colts vs Broncos online free streaming Sunday Night Football using the links below. And with good reason: this game could very well be the biggest game of the 2013 NFL regular season. And amazingly, that’s not just hyperbole.
Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning has broken several records so far this season, and no matter what his calm demeanor may seem to show, he’d like nothing more than to break some hearts as well tonight against the Colts. The showdown at Lucas Oil Stadium marks the first time Manning has returned to Indianapolis since he was released in 2012 following neck surgery. The Colts were going to draft Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck, and there was no way Luck would succeed as a second stringer. Luck this season has gone on to rack up the fourth-best Quarterback Ranking (QBR), just three spots behind the man he replaced, Broncos QB Peyton Manning. Clearly the transition has been a good-news story for both men and both teams, making the head-to-head matchup one of the hottest tickets around.
For those who catch the game on NBC or watch Colts vs Broncos online free streaming Sunday Night Football, their interest will lie largely in the quarterbacks. Broncos QB Manning so far has gone 178-240 for 2,179 yards and 22 TDs. Colts QB Luck, meanwhile, has gone 115-186 for 1,346 yards and seven TDs. If Manning gets the better of his former team, which all but one ESPN analyst expects, the Broncos will advance to 7-0 and give Manning the last laugh. If Luck comes out on top, not only will he hold bragging rights over his predecessor, but the Colts will have the distinction of being the only team this year to knock off the Broncos. He’ll also make his boss, Colts owner Jim Irsay, feel somewhat vindicated for his oft-maligned comments about releasing one-time franchise QB Manning.
The success or failure of those dueling quarterbacks will largely depend on how the Colts and Broncos defensive units perform. Last week Luck and the Colts lost 19-9 to the San Diego Chargers, in large part because Luck was kept out of the end zone for just the third time in 23 career starts. Granted, five Colts dropped some catchable passes at crucial points, but the Chargers D put on the pressure. If the Broncos can keep it up, they stand a good shot at defeating the Colts as expected.
But the Colts defense could pose a challenge to Broncos QB Manning, as well. There are only 11 players still on the Colts roster from when Manning played there, and while they respect the Hall of Fame quarterback, they want to prove they’ve moved on without him. One of those former teammates is Robert Mathis, who shares the NFL lead for sacks with 9.5. With him gunning for Manning up front while the Colts cornerbacks likely play the Broncos receivers close, they’ll gamble to try to make a play. One concern for the Colts will be linebacker Jerrell Freeman, the team’s leading tackler, who sat out the second half against San Diego with a concussion.
Meanwhile, the Broncos will have linebacker Von Miller for the first time this season after completing his six-game suspension. Whether he’s rusty or not, it’ll be awesome to see how he and the Broncos respond against the Colts in Manning’s first return to Indy. You can watch Colts vs Broncos online free streaming Sunday Night Football on DirecTV’s website if you have the NFL Sunday Ticket Package. Although the package itself requires a subscription, anyone can watch the live streaming version free if they have it. There’s no question tonight’s game is the biggest of all the Week 7 games, if not the NFL season so far.