Two teams with new quarterbacks came into the season with high expectations. Four weeks into the new NFL schedule and there are more questions than expected for both squads.
The Indianapolis Colts were picked by many to win the AFC South after bringing Matt Ryan on board but Indianapolis (1-2-1)has struggled so far. The same is true for the Denver Broncos (2-2), who were expected to compete for the AFC West after trading for Russell Wilson in the offseason.
One of the teams is going to take a step forward when they meet in Denver on Thursday night.
While the quarterbacks are the driving force for both offenses, the focus will be on the running games. Colts All-Pro tailback Jonathan Taylor may not be able to play due to a severely twisted right ankle injury suffered in a loss to Tennessee on Sunday.
Taylor was in a walking boot and was listed as a non-participant on Tuesday's injury report for the team's light practice but he hasn't ruled himself out for Thursday. According to team doctors, he is not at risk for further injury.
"I definitely do plan to play, but if you can't go you can't go," Taylor said. "That's why you have to get as much treatment as you can."
Taylor is also nursing a turf toe injury but the ankle is a bigger concern.
"Definitely still dealing with that, but it's in a good spot now," Taylor said. "The main thing right now is getting that ankle back to 100 percent."
Indianapolis could also be without linebacker Shaquille Leonard, who suffered a broken nose on Sunday in addition to being diagnosed with a concussion.
While Leonard has a chance to suit up, Denver lost a key member of its defense when linebacker Randy Gregory went on the injured list with a knee injury suffered Sunday at Las Vegas. He will be out at least four weeks.
More impactful was the loss of lead running back Javonte Williams to a season-ending torn ACL against the Raiders. The Broncos signed running back Latavius Murray off the New Orleans Saints' practice squad on Tuesday.
Murray played in London on Sunday but is eligible to play Thursday night. With a short week to prepare, he is likely to be an insurance policy for Denver.
The Broncos might have to rely on Wilson's arm to beat the Colts. Melvin Gordon III has had ball security issues and fumbled on his first carry Sunday, which was returned for a touchdown. Mike Boone took most of the snaps after Williams went down but he might not be the answer for Denver.
Head coach Nathaniel Hackett said he has not lost faith in Gordon.
"This is a guy that's been doing this for a long time. He's harder on himself than anybody," Hackett said. "He's part of our team and we love the guy. It's a great opportunity for him to get back out in the field and prove himself."
The Broncos could finally have offensive lineman Billy Turner available. He has not played this year due to a knee injury but has practiced on a limited basis this week.
--Field Level Media