Indianapolis Colts can stay in touch with Denver Broncos
AFC South bottom club can provide West rivals with tough challenge
Sky Sports Action, 1.30am Thursday night
Broadcasters would have loved the final Thursday Night Football clash of the season to have a huge bearing on the playoff picture, but they, like Indianapolis this season, are out of luck.
There is no escaping the fact this season has been a disappointment for Indianapolis and Denver.
The Colts, who have had to rely on Jacoby Brissett at quarterback as Andrew Luck has been injured all season, have scored an average of just 16.3 points in their 13 games and they have eclipsed the 20-point mark just once in their last seven outings.
Admittedly they may have been more productive had they not been forced to take on Buffalo in ankle-deep snow on Sunday, but they have won just one of their last eight games and head coach Chuck Pagano looks almost certain to be an unemployment statistic in the near future.
However, every team have their price and they could cover a three-point handicap against the Broncos, whose own campaign has hardly been a rip-roaring success.
Denver won their first two games of the season, but Sunday's 23-0 win over the New York Jets was only their second success since then.
That victory saw them match their highest points total since they thumped Dallas 42-17 in Week Two.
It will take more than a shutout against a team many thought were the league's worst in September to suggest they can finish the season positively.
Apart from a 30-10 reverse to Jacksonville, the Colts' recent defeats have been by relatively close margins.
They lost by four against Tennessee, two against Pittsburgh and one against Cincinnati and the first two teams are much better than the one they face this week.
The Broncos have not covered the handicap in any of their last six games and that run could continue.
2pts 20-23 Coral, Ladbrokes
Venue Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis, Indiana
Vegas handicap Denver -2.5
Vegas points line 40.5
Quarterback Paxton Lynch is set to miss out with an ankle injury, but hopes are high that defensive lineman Domata Peko will be available after missing two games with an ankle injury.
Running back Frank Gore hopes to recover from a hand injury but wide receiver Donte Montcrief is expected to be back after an ankle problem. Defensive back Rashaan Melvin could return after missing two games with a broken hand.
The points total has gone over the Vegas line in ten of the last 12 meetings.
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