The Denver Broncos will kick off action against the Indianapolis Colts on Thursday Night Football in 24 hours. In order for the Broncos to get their third win of the season, they’ll need to run the ball effectively against the Colts, while simultaneous being more consistent in stopping the run.

Denver Broncos offensive run game looks for a boost

The Broncos rushing offense has struggled to find consistency so far through four weeks. Week 1 against the Seattle Seahawks was different due to Denver trailing in the third quarter and needing to generate points down the stretch.

Mainly, the Broncos rushing offense has struggled due to offensive guard Quinn Meinerz hamstring injury he sustained against the Seahawks in Week 1. His status for Thursday Night Football is questionable, but if he were to play, he’d be a boost to help get the run game back on track.

At this point it’s looking unlikely Meinerz will play on Thursday after being designated as DNP – did not participate this week leading up to kickoff.

Against the Las Vegas Raiders, the Broncos were only able to muster a total of 85 yards on the ground, with quarterback Russell Wilson being the leading rusher with 24 yards. How the Broncos navigate Javonte Williams season-ending injury will be crucial going forward.

After signing veteran running back Latavius Murray, everybody is wondering whether or not he’ll be able to play vs. the Colts on Thursday with such a short turnaround.

Broncos head coach Nathaniel Hackett said it’s up in the air during Tuesday’s media availability.

“We’re still working through that, he just got here,” Hackett said on Tuesday. “We’re just going to kind of get a feel for that and see what’s best for him.”

If he plays, will he be the feature back or will he and Melvin Gordon and Mike Boone split the responsibility?

“We’re still working through all that, too,” Hackett disclosed Tuesday. “It’s been a short week, so we’ve just been trying to get the game plan in, and we’ll see how all that works out.”

Through four weeks, Denver has rushed for an average 109.5 yards per game which accounts for 18th in the NFL.

Regardless, if the Broncos can find a way to get the run game going, the offense will have a chance to find balance which has been lacking through four weeks.

Can Broncos run defense be more consistent against the run?

The Broncos run defense has been a solid part of their production early on in the season, but are coming off of a tough performance against the Raiders in Week 4.

Raiders running back Josh Jacobs broke through the Broncos defensive front seven various times, running for 144 yards on 28 carries and two touchdowns including a backbreaking scamper in the fourth quarter.

Broncos defensive coordinator Ejiro Evero shared what the defense needs to do to be more consistent against the run.

“I think the biggest thing for us [is] trying not to do too much,” Evero said during his weekly press conference on Tuesday. “Just playing our core fundamentals and I think sometimes as coaches and players, you have a tendency to want to make a play to win the game and press. We just have to trust the process, one play at a time, stay disciplined with our fundamentals, stay disciplined in how we’re calling the game, all of those things, and we’ll be just fine.”

Will Colts running back Jonathan Taylor play on Thursday? According to Colts head coach Frank Reich, his status is ‘up in the air’ against Denver. If Taylor is unable to go on Thursday, the Colts will lean heavily on Naheim Hines who only has 11 rushing yards so far through four games.

It’s possible the Colts also elevate former Broncos running back Phillip Lindsay from their practice squad in the event Taylor is unable to go.

Despite it being a short week, the Broncos have an opportunity to get back on track against a Colts offense that has struggled with consistency under new quarterback Matt Ryan.

Ryan is the Colts second leading rusher on the season with 12 yards on the ground through four weeks, but he’s thrown five interceptions on the season and has been sacked a total of 15 times accounting for 9 total fumbles.

The Broncos defense is tied for 5th in the NFL right now with sacks, getting after opposing quarterbacks a total of 11 times through four weeks.

If Denver can shut down the rushing attack of the Colts with whoever lines up in the backfield on Thursday, they will have a chance to send pressure after Ryan with Bradley Chubb, Baron Browning, and rookie outside linebacker Nik Bonitto who is expected to have an elevated role after Randy Gregory was placed on short-term injured reserve.

The Denver Broncos (2-2) will kick off their fifth game of the regular season against the Indianapolis Colts (1-2-1) on Thursday Night Football at 6:15 p.m. MT.