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    Manning vs. Luck (10/16/13)

    John Ewing, Director of Research and Analytics, @johnewing
    By John Ewing
    What would happen if Peyton Manning and Andrew Luck switched teams in this week’s Sunday Night Football game? Plus, whose dad is the best, Archie Manning or Oliver Luck? Plus, Denver's odds of going undefeated, Jackonsville winless and more. Follow John on Twitter @JohnEwing for more notes from his analysis.


    The undefeated Denver Broncos, led by former Colts quarterback Peyton Manning, will head to Indianapolis this week for Sunday Night Football. Manning’s homecoming will be marked by a tribute from the Colts in honor of the 14 seasons Manning spent with the organization.
    Manning brings with him the high powered Broncos offense that has set an NFL record with 265 points through six weeks. Denver has won all but one game by 16 or more points and has scored at least 35 points in every contest, thanks in part to Manning’s NFL record 22 touchdowns through six games.
    The Broncos may find it tough sledding against a Colts defense that has allowed just 205.7 passing yards/game (5th NFL) and 16.3 points/game (5th NFL). As great as the Denver offense has been, the defense has struggled (getting Von Miller back this week) allowing 377.7 passing yards/game (32nd NFL), this stat can be misleading as most teams have been passing against the Broncos because they are behind, and 26.3 points/game (24th NFL). So who wins in a showdown between division leading teams?
    After 50,000 simulations the Denver Broncos win 67.0% of the time by an average score of 33-26. In our simulations, Peyton Manning completes 66% of his passes for 312 yards, 3.2 touchdowns and 0.9 interceptions. Andrew Luck, in a losing effort, completes 59% of his passes for 277 yards, 1.6 touchdowns and 0.9 interceptions.
    Ok, so the Broncos win, that is not surprising. As we are wont to do, what would happen if Manning and Luck switched teams?
    Manning (Colts) vs. Luck (Broncos)
    In this scenario, Denver would still win with Andrew Luck calling the plays. However, the game is closer than in the original simulation. The Broncos win 51.4% of the time by an average score of 28-27.
    Luck, with the Broncos receiving talent (Demaryius Thomas, Wes Welker, Eric Decker, Julius Thomas), completes 62% of his passes for 288 yards, 3.0 touchdowns, and 0.9 interceptions.
    As the Colts quarterback, Manning’s stat line takes a small hit completing 61% of his passes for 309 yards, 2.0 touchdowns, and 0.9 interceptions. With the band back together, Manning rocking a Colts uniform, Reggie Wayne leads all receivers with 6.3 receptions for 99.6 yards and 0.6 touchdowns.
    Colts fans appreciate the 14 seasons they had with Manning including one Super Bowl and four MVP seasons. They probably are also grateful for Peyton urging the Colts to take Luck No. 1 overall. All that said, given Peyton’s performance this season it would be hard for Colts fans not to wonder what their team would look like with the future Hall of Famer.
    Currently, in our NFL Rest of Season Projections, a simulation of the season 50,000 times, the Broncos finish with an average record of 13.3 wins and 2.7 losses. The Colts average record is 9.3 wins and 6.7 losses. Both teams make the playoffs.
    Switching quarterbacks, the Broncos (with Luck) average 11.3 wins and 4.7 losses. The Colts (with Manning) average 9.8 wins and 6.2 losses. The Colts have their quarterback of the future in Andrew Luck but Manning, with his level of play, is worth 0.5 a win on average over Luck to the Colts this season and 2 wins to the Broncos.

    Freaky Friday Sunday
    Peyton Manning and Andrew Luck are two of the most popular players in the NFL. Peyton is 6’5”, 230 pounds while Luck is 6’4”, 239 pounds, and both have laser rocket arms. The quarterbacks inherited their abilities from their equally famous fathers, Archie Manning and Oliver Luck.
    Archie and Oliver have a lot in common, not just that their sons play in the NFL. Both formers NFL quarterbacks have been selected to be a part of the College Football Playoff’s 13-member selection committee.
    With so much in common and set to spend a lot of quality time together, we are sure Archie and Oliver have been wondering who would win if they switched places with their sons on Sunday. So we decided to settle the debate and simulate what would happen. Note: the simulation features both Archie (1970s) and Oliver (1980s) from their NFL days, not the current iterations.
    Denver, with Archie Manning starting at quarterback, would win 67.3% of the time by an average score of 25-19. In an Archie vs. Oliver game, the Broncos have a higher win percentage than when the sons play.
    Archie Manning completes 62% of his passes for 268 yards, 2.7 touchdowns, and 1.3 interceptions. Oliver Luck completes 58% of his passes for 238 yards, 1.4 touchdowns, and 1.4 interceptions.
    The Broncos, with Archie Manning from the 1970s for a full season, on average would have 10.4 wins and 5.6 losses. The Colts, with Oliver Luck from the 1980s, would average 7.0 wins and 9.0 losses.

    Other Notes

    Denver has a 4.4% chance of going 16-0 this season.

    Jacksonville is 7.4% likely to finish the season winless, 0-16. 

    The odds of Denver and Kansas City both being undefeated for their Week 11 matchup is 6.9%.
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