Switching Manning for Luck (01/07/15)

By John Ewing Director of Research and Analytics @johnewing
Broncos vs. Colts – what would happen if Peyton Manning and Andrew Luck switched teams?



Sunday, the Broncos and Colts will meet in the AFC Divisional Playoffs. Denver has never beat Indy in the postseason. The Colts defeated the Broncos in the 2003 and 2004 AFC Wild Card games. Of course that was with Peyton Manning at quarterback.

With Manning, we project Denver to beat Indianapolis this weekend. After 50,000 simulations, the Broncos win 70 percent of the time by an average score of 31-23.

Peyton Manning and Andrew Luck will forever be linked due to their origin in Indianapolis. As such, let's have some fun and see what would happen if these quarterbacks switched teams.

Switching quarterbacks, the Broncos (with Luck) would be victorious 59 percent of the time against the Colts (with Manning). The average projected score would be 28-24.

The Broncos, even when switching Luck for Manning, are still the better overall team. Denver ranks No. 2 in our Power Rankings, Indianapolis No. 6. While Manning may have been a disappointment to fantasy owners down the stretch this season with the Broncos enjoying success running the ball, Peyton is still the superior quarterback to Luck as we expect the Colts (with Manning) to keep the contest in Mile High within a touchdown.

What would happen if Peyton Manning were the quarterback for both the Broncos and Colts?

In an all-Manning bowl, the Broncos (with Manning) would triumph over the Colts (also with Manning) 64% of the time. The average projected score after 50,000 simulations would be Denver 31, Colts 25.

Denver and Indianapolis are fortunate to have Manning and Luck, two of the best quarterbacks in the league. Manning is arguably the best quarterback of all-time and almost every team would improve with his addition and regardless of what quarterback plays for Denver this weekend (Manning or Luck), the Broncos are a better overall team than the Colts.

Switching Quarterbacks – projected scores

Denver Indianapolis Winning Team Projected Score
With Manning With Luck Denver, 70% of the time 31-23
With Luck With Manning Denver, 59% of the time 28-24
With Manning With Manning Denver, 64% of the time 31-25