Michael Conroy/Associated Press
Chris Harris vs. T.Y. Hilton
Sunday night will mark the first game that Chris Harris has played since partially tearing his ACL last year in the divisional round of the playoffs against San Diego.
If he lines up as the nickel corner on passing downs, he could see a lot of Indianapolis wide receiver T.Y. Hilton. After catching 82 passes for 1,083 yards in his second year in the league last year, Hilton's talent is no longer a secret.
In fact, he will likely be Andrew Luck's favorite target this year.
Hilton is a very fast receiver who has a knack for getting behind the secondary. Harris will be charged with shadowing him Sunday night, which will be no easy task.
For Harris to be successful, he needs to get physical with Hilton, slowing him down and throwing him off his route. This will force Luck to turn elsewhere and reduce the chance of big plays in the passing game.
Von Miller vs. Indianapolis Pass Protection
Much like Harris, Von Miller will also be returning to the field after an injury ended his 2013 season. The Colts need to be ready for a man on a mission.
With DeMarcus Ware also on the field, Luck will have plenty to be wary of on Sunday night, but Miller is the guy who could change the complexion of the game.
Expect to see the Colts use a tight end or a fullback to chip in on blocking Miller. No one player for the Colts can handle a healthy Miller by himself.
Miller will need to pick his spots carefully, but he could wreak havoc against the Indianapolis offense in this guy and reassert himself as one of the league's best defensive players.
Demaryius Thomas vs. Vontae Davis
Demaryius Thomas could have the best numbers of any wide receiver in the NFL when the season ends. He needs to get off to a strong start.
Vontae Davis gave him trouble when these two teams met last season, and Thomas was held in check. Sure, looking at the box score it shows Thomas made four catches for 82 yards and a touchdown. But what it doesn't show is that the touchdown catch came with Davis on the sideline.
Thomas may have found some openings in that game, but none of them came when matched up on Davis, who will draw Thomas' number again on Sunday.
In the preseason, Peyton Manning and the Denver offense showed a commitment to getting the ball to Thomas early and often. Look for Thomas to get the better of the matchup with Davis this time.
X-Factor Player- Jacob Tamme
Emmanuel Sanders, Andre Caldwell and even Cody Latimer will combine to pick up the slack with Wes Welker out. Indianapolis will be ready for that.
But don't forget about Jacob Tamme.
With the emergence of Julius Thomas, Tamme is often lost in the shuffle. But he is a trusted target of Manning who has good hands and can find the soft spot in the defense.
Tamme won't post huge stats, but if Denver needs a key third down to move the chains, don't be surprised if you see Tamme come up with a clutch play.