After the dismal 2-14 season last year, the Indianapolis Colts cut ties with the GM, the entire coaching staff, and many of the players fans grew to love including their franchise star Peyton Manning. No one gave the Colts hope for 2012 with having 30 guys that have one year or fewer experience in the NFL, a new coaching staff, new front office, and a rookie quarterback.
When the Colts dominated the St. Louis Rams 38-3 in their first preseason game, many of the experts gave this team praise and said Andrew Luck could actually lead this team back to relevance quicker than expected. Then, everyone jumped ship again when the Colts lost by 20 points in their Week 1 matchup with the Chicago Bears.
Many of the so called experts and the local media went back to their original predictions of a two or three win season. They kept going to the reason that this team is worse than the 3-13 1998 team that Manning led as a rookie and the 2-14 team of last season. I honestly don’t see it that way.
This team may be young, but they do have talent. These guys are a few minor mistakes away from being a very good relevant football team. I don’t think you can compare this team to the ’98 or ’11 team. In this day in age of the NFL it’s all about scheduling.
Too many experts pick games off of players. I’m sick of experts saying New England will win because they have Tom Brady, or the Colts will lose because they’re young and don’t have as many good skill players as last year.
That’s not how it works.
Games are won and lost by many other factors than players. It’s coaching, it’s schemes, and it’s flat out who you’re playing. I looked at last season’s schedule for the Colts and they weren’t as bad as people think. Yes, it was one of the worst seasons in franchise history, but I’m calling a tank job by the front office and players. They wanted the No. 1 pick and knew they had to tank to get there. That’s a discussion for another day though. I broke down the schedule and games and here’s what I found.
Did you know, the Colts lost half of their games by one possession? Seven losses came within a touchdown. They lost those seven games by a combined 43 points which equates out to 6.1 points per game. I’d like to think Andrew Luck is worth at least a touchdown difference. If I go by the expert theory of winning games, the Colts would have won all seven games and be 9-7 instead of 2-14.
The Colts played so well in the first half, but looked like they didn’t want to win in the second half and came out playing the total opposite. Looked like a tank job again to me because if a team is playing so well in the first half there’s no reason to come out playing pathetic in the second. It was only when they were assured a top three pick that they played an entire game. Hence winning two in a row in the end of the season. Then, when it came down to lose and get the top pick they come out flat. Funny how that happens.
Also, the schedule last year had 11 of their 16 games against an opponent that finished within a game of .500 or better. That’s nearly 70 percent of their schedule. Eight of those games were against playoff teams.
It’s perfectly understandable to see that one the Colts weren’t that far off last season, two they played against better competition, and three a tank job was in progress.
Fast forward to now. The Colts’ 2012 schedule isn’t nearly as tough. Only three teams that made the 2011 playoffs are on the schedule, and nearly half of their games are against a quarterback with one year or fewer experience in the league. This team is better than Minnesota, Jacksonville, Cleveland, Miami, and just as good as Tennessee. It would be absolutely inexcusable for the Colts to lose to those teams at home. That’s taking steps backwards in my mind.
Mix in games that should be close and actually within a possession of winning at Jacksonville and Tennessee and the Colts are within the five to seven wins bracket. That’s a successful season for this young team and that’s not saying they could upset someone on the schedule either.
I’m not sure where the local media or so called experts are coming up with two or three wins. This schedule is more favorable and has five guaranteed wins on it. They won’t tank the season like last year, and I would think these new players are worth at least a touchdown or better advantage than last year.
Mark my words now. This team will win at least five games and be better than last season.