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Published on 12/22/2008 at Mon Dec 22 15:59.
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Source: DayLfe

Remember 2006? Denver had a bearded lumberjack named Jake Plummer slinging around the football until a young Jay Cutler replaced him. There were two Bells running around in the backfield, Champ Bailey had 10 interceptions on the year, and Denver actually had a defensive line. If your memory serves you right then you would remember that the Indianapolis Colts won the Super Bowl that year. If your memory is even better than you’ll remember that the Colts finished dead last in run defense on the season. Thats right…  dead last. There wasn’t a single game that the Colts held an opponent to under 100 yards not even Denver who rushed for 227 yards in a loss against them. It’s hard to believe that a team with such a porous run defense could go all the way. That’s where Peyton Manning and the offense came through. Manning lead his team to win after win going 9-0 but only to finish 12-4. Great offense… terrible defense… if you’re a Denver fan all of this should start sounding familiar. Scan through all the statistics and you’ll find yourself thinking…  Are the 2008 Broncos the 2006 Colts?

Statistics and breakdowns after the jump

Offensive Comparison

Offensively speaking the 2006 Colts are so statistically similar to the 2008 Broncos it’s down right scary. Just take a look at the table below.

  06′ Colts 08′ Broncos
Quarterback 1st in AFC 1st in AFC
Passing 1st in AFC 1st in AFC
Running 21st in NFL 16th in NFL
Total 1st in AFC 1st in AFC

As you can see Jay Cutler and Peyton Manning both lead the AFC that year in passing, both teams lead the AFC in passing, and total offense as well. Statistically Denver has a better running game (if they can find a running back).

Defensive Comparison

Defensively these two teams have a lot in common as in they cant stop the ball from running past them.

  06′ Colts 08′ Broncos
Passing 2nd in NFL 27th in NFL
Running 32nd in NFL 26th in NFL
Total 21st in NFL 28th in NFL

The obvious main difference is in the passing game. However, no Champ Bailey will hurt your defensive statistics. Denver fans need to be knowledgeable about this one stat.

Take out injured players such as Bailey(s), Webster, McCree, and Young the average age of the Denver Bronco player is 24.4 years old.

The Denver Broncos are boasting a team full of guys fresh out of college with a few veterans sprinkled in. There has been a massive roster change from last year and new coaching staff. All of those variables sound like a recipe for a reconstruction year yet Denver still owns a record of 8-7.

End of the Year Stretch

Denver has been labeled a couple of things this year such as:

“…the most dangerous team in the AFC.”

– Bill Cowher


– Everybody

What matters is how the Broncos gain consistency at the end of the year. Like I said before the Colts started off 9-0 and then went 3-4 to finish 12-4 on the season. They lost all of their division rivals who all of them finished 8-8 on the season. In Week 14 the Jaguars won with 375 total yards rushing, Maurice Jones-Drew and Fred Taylor both went over 100 yards rushing each. In Week 16 the Texans pulled an upset with Ron Dayne’s help of 153 rushing yards. A high powered offense malfunctioning in an upset during Week 16… hmm that sounds vaguely familiar.

The Colts then went into the playoffs defeating the Chiefs and holding Larry Johnson to 32 yards on his 1,789 yard season. The defense then continued to bail out Peyton Manning through the playoffs, he ended up throwing 7 interceptions and posting a passer rating of 63.5 before the Super Bowl. The Broncos need to mimic this Colts playoff defense in order to win.

Does all of this sound familiar to you? Can the Bronco defense do the same? Can the young team step up when it finally counts and carry themselves with pride into the playoffs? Does it smell like upset season in Mile High? The real question still remains… Are the 2008 Broncos the 2006 Colts?


Authors Note: I am speaking only on the behalf of potential. Everyone forgets though how horrid the Colts run defense was. Everyone forgets how people said things like “Peyton Manning will never get it done with a defense like that.” I am merely only drawing parallels don’t take this article to be prophecy.

The media has said things in the past that have gone completely the other way. A few years ago Mike Ditka was asked if he thought Eli Manning was a franchise quarterback and he responded…

The only way Eli Manning will be a franchise quarterback is if he buys his own franchise.

Do I believe it can be done? Not likely. However, the statistics are there and Denver fans need hope right about now. It’s not over so be a real fan and stop acting like its.

  • kerry

    huge HUGE difference between our team and the Colts. they may have been last in run defense but they had a huge plamaker that made ALL the difference in the playoffs. BOB SANDERS!! we dont have a bob sanders type playmaker. not since Steve Atwater.

  • dee

    East, don’t go there … this is no time for Colt comparisons…. lets just try to win one game. If not lets do our best to rebuild this defense, the time for talking is over… no more analysis …no more what if’s , just play the game sunday night and see what happens … im so sick of the talking, the analysis, the BS that goes into football… just play the damn game.. the best team on Sunday will win …we can talk until we’re blue in the face and it won’t change the reality

  • jcampb72

    what? NO…wow.

  • kody

    ya sorry i think i have to disagree also. I don’t think we can compare these two teams. We’ve had so many injuries, and culters potenital hasn’t fully peaked yet. The same goes with marshal. However, i do believe the broncos will pull off a big WIN dec. 28th.

  • jvill

    That’s some impressive wishful thinking.

    The return of Champ is going to turn our pass defense, that stunk with him in it, into something special?

    The 2006 Colts were also, I believe, 1st in total offense in the NFL, not just the AFC, right? Leading the AFC even, in 2006, is a lot different than leading the shaky AFC in 2008, especially with no running game to speak of.

  • Jon Krause
  • Indy_Colts_08

    As a Colts fan, I didn’t realize until recently how big of a rivalry SD and Denver is. I hope you guys take it to Rivers Sunday night. That guy is the biggest dbag. Next to Manning, Cutler is my favorite qb. Class act; ran into him a couple years ago when he was in town for the NFL Combine. Good luck this weekend. Maybe see you Round 1.

  • Richard

    I think the other obvious think you’re overlooking with regard to the differences between the ’06 Colts and the ’08 Broncos is that the ’06 Colts have a Hall of Famer playing quarterback.

  • broncofan2438

    HAHAHAHA, what a joke! In fact the Broncos are a joke!

  • East

    The Saints lead the NFL in offense in 2006. Don’t mess with me when it comes to statistics seeing how I’m a Data Analyst. Everybody needs to read closer or I need to make it more clear… I did not say they are the 2006 Colts they just have a chance to follow in the same footsteps.

  • East

    Jvill – Also the 2008 Broncos have posted more passing yards per game and more total yards per game than the 2006 Indianapolis Colts.

    I do like your insight. It is very impressive wishful thinking… these are what the great games are made of. The AFC Championship that game was amazing 4th Quarter comeback by the Colts defeating the Patriots. Everybody remembers the Boise State – Oklahoma game. This team needs to reach deep down and remember what football is all about.

    The stage is there… Sunday night… the den of the enemy… and the division on the line. This is what football is made for and this is why people watch. Lets hope the Denver Broncos realize that like the 2006 Colts did.

  • Ian Henson

    East, good stuff! I’m tired of everyone being so down on Denver. Are we or are we not playing for a chance to be in the playoffs on Sunday?

  • Broncoholic

    How can anyone on here disagree with this comparison? Both teams had/have a great O and a crappy D. Who can argue that? The fact that Indy won the Superbowl just shows that a team can win it all without a lights out D. While most of the disagreement comes from the fact that nobody thinks this Broncos team can win the SB, nobody thought that the ’06 Colts could win it all either. Anything can happen. Will it happen? Probably not, as East said himself, but still a possibility nontheless. All he is saying is that they are similar teams (in regards to: great O, bad D) and the Broncos have the chance to follow the same playoff path that the Colts did. I don’t see any point in that could be argued in that statement. We’ll see after Sunday whether they still have that chance or not, but as of right now they do…GO BRONCOS!!!!

  • jcampb72

    How can u call bob sanders and two of the best pass rushers in the game crappy broncoholic. I like the wishful thinking, but that won’t get us to the playoffs.

  • AKscott

    yeah, as kerry and a few others alluded to, the colts were without Sanders most of the season. They added a DT at the trade deadline (mcfarland if i remember right) which after a few games of getting to know the defense seemed to help a ton, and then when Sanders came back healthy they played much better. Plus, that d line could at least get pressure on the opposing QB.. we cant..

  • robtink242

    i’m looking forward to next year. not knocking off what we can this year , but DAMM these guys are to young and have horrible vets to learn from (with exception to DJ and Champ)

    Get Bly far from dove valley, along with champ’s lil brother, and nate webster. josh bell has been playing corner better than Dre Bly.

    we are in dying need for a pass rusher. Champ needs ints not sacks C0me on MAN!!!

  • hercules rockefeller

    The 2006 Colts were actually good, though.

  • Broncoholic

    I didn’t call Bob Sanders crappy, I called their entire D crappy based on their performance during that season. I called our D crappy as well and you didn’t infer that I was calling Champ crappy.