Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts are trying to live up to the preseason NFL predictions that had them playing in Super Bowl XLV at the end of the season. The problem is that the NFL scores have not been cooperating, and neither has the injury bug. The Colts have several important players out injured, and the injury list is starting to take its toll on the Colts’ season. At 6-5, the Colts do not look like the powerhouse that had NFL betting enthusiasts excited before the season began.
The Cowboys will go another game without starting quarterback Tony Romo. That means a lot of play from running backs Felix Jones and Tashard Choice, and a lot of underneath passes. The good thing about veteran back up quarterback Jon Kitna is that he has enough experience in the league to be able to throw the ball deep once in a while to spread out the opposing defense. But that Cowboys offensive line sometimes finds it difficult to give Kitna the time he needs to throw the ball.
The Colts offense is Peyton Manning and Reggie Wayne. Wide receiver Pierre Garcon chips in once in a while, but Wayne is doing the bulk of the receiving work. Wide receiver Austin Collie is out, tight end Dallas Clark is out and running back Joseph Addai is out. Pretty much every weapon Peyton Manning would use to reduce the opposing defense to tears is out injured. Peyton Manning is a great quarterback, but he is only human. With no running game to speak of and only two decent receivers to throw to, Manning just cannot put up the fight he needs to win games.
Safety Bob Sanders and defensive lineman Dwight Freeney are out. Freeney may play on Sunday, Sanders will not. The Colts defense has done an excellent job of keeping the team in games while the offense tries to get going, but even the defense has been kicked around by injuries. To help a depleted linebacking corps the Colts just signed Nate Triplett to the team. But with linebackers Cody Glenn and Gary Brackett out for this Sunday’s game, the Colts defense looks to be in trouble.
The Bottom Line:
You never want to bet against Peyton Manning but, in all honesty, he has nothing left to work with for this game. A depleted Colts defense is coming up against a confident Dallas offense, and the Colts offense just does not have the weapons it needs to be effective.
Pick: Dallas Cowboys
Join ESPN Insider today for the best sports analysis online, plus ESPN The Magazine!