ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) -John Lynch thinks the Denver Broncos secondary has never been better equipped to slow down Peyton Manning and the Colts' high-powered offense.
The Broncos safety is just hoping to be part of it. Lynch tweaked his groin in a loss to Jacksonville on Sunday and doesn't know if he'll be healed in time.
``I'm always optimistic and feel like I've always been a fast healer,'' Lynch said Thursday. ``It's improving.''
Last season, Manning torched the Denver secondary for 345 yards and three touchdowns in a 34-31 win.
Lynch thinks the secondary this season is in a different ballpark, especially with cornerback Dre' Bly on the other side of Champ Bailey. He's eager to see how the team stacks up on Sunday in Indianapolis.
``In a lot of ways, we're built to counteract this potent offense,'' Lynch said.
If Denver were facing any other team, Lynch might play dinged up. But Manning would exploit an injured Lynch all afternoon long.
``You better be right against these guys,'' Lynch said. ``You're going to be chasing people. We're going to make sure it's right.''
The Broncos will make a final determination Friday. If Lynch can't go Sunday, he will be replaced by Domonique Foxworth or Curome Cox, both converted cornerbacks from Maryland.
Cox filled in for Lynch against Jacksonville after Lynch was injured. Cox is listed on the depth chart as Nick Ferguson's backup at strong safety, but said he doesn't mind switching over to free safety.
``This isn't much of a change,'' Cox said.
Foxworth has been battling an ankle sprain this season and has played only a limited role. However, he started three games last season at strong safety when Ferguson went down with a knee injury.
``We know they're going to do a good job for us,'' Bailey said.
Bailey thought about what the Broncos would lose without their defensive captain.
``We're definitely going to miss his leadership, and what he can do on the field,'' Bailey said. ``There's nothing we can do about that. We've got to keep moving on.''
With Lynch possibly not playing, and Bly manning the other side, the defending Super Bowl champs may attack the middle of the field, instead - just like the Jaguars did in a 23-14 win.
Either that or give Denver a steady dose of Joseph Addai. The Broncos are ranked 29th against the run, giving up 166 yards a game.
``I'm sure they're going to test our run defense,'' Bailey said. ``But who knows? It's Peyton and he puts up 300 yards a game. I expect both.''
So does Bly. But he's hoping for more passes.
``I'm definitely licking my chops and I plan on having a big game,'' he said.
Lynch first tweaked his groin against Oakland on Sept. 16, but thought little of it. In the second quarter against Jacksonville, he felt something grab and decided not to risk further injury.
``It's hard to do, but sometimes you have to say ``It's not my day,''' Lynch said.
He hasn't practiced yet this week and said he'll only have a small say in whether or not he'll play Sunday. He will leave the final decision to coach Mike Shanahan.
``My instincts are always to play,'' Lynch said. ``They're aware of that.''

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