Can the Colts Make the Playoffs? Five Reasons Why They Can
Five Reasons Why the Colts Will Make the Playoffs
The Indianapolis Colts had a disastrous season last year when they were without franchise quarterback Peyton Manning for the whole season. This past off-season saw a lot of changes as Indianapolis went into a completely new direction by cleaning the house, getting a new coach and a new quarterback.
This completely new team looked like it would struggle this season, looking they may not win no more than maybe two or three games. However, so far, it has been looking nothing like that as the Colts are off to a pretty hot start at a 2-2 record.
Their first loss has been the only gaping hole they have seen when they got destroyed in the season-opener, 41-24, by the Chicago Bears. However, they handed the Minnesota Vikings their only loss of the season so far, beating them 23-20.
The next week saw a pretty bad ending of a loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars. Indianapolis would have to think things over in their bye week after that, especially when it was announced that their head coach Chuck Pagano was diagnosed with a treatable form of leukemia, leaving him out for the rest of the season.
With offensive coordinator Bruce Arians in as the interim head coach, he would have a tough debut ahead with hosting the Green Bay Packers at home. Against all odds, the Colts found a way to win and got it done with a 30-27 upset victory.
Indianapolis has looked pretty solid overall this season, and many are wondering if this squad can pull the unthinkable and make the playoffs this season.
Schedule and Conference
The Colts, by far, probably have one of the easiest schedules in the league right now. As Jason McIntyre of The Big Lead notes, Indianapolis will be facing only three teams for the rest of the season with a winning-record.
They will be against the New York Jets next on Sunday and that looks like it could be a victory as the drama-filled team continues to struggle.
Best case scenario, it looks like, is that the Colts can finish 11-5 or 10-6. We could also see 8-8 and 9-7. However, the AFC is also a weak conference and the Colts can easily get in as a Wild Card if they can keep this high level of play.
For the past decade, the Colts weren't necessarily known for their defense. Actually, they were always pretty bad or just decent enough. The team was usually relied on the offense to win games.
However, with Chuck Pagano, being the defensive-minded coach that he is, him implementing the 3-4 defensive scheme to this team has helped out a lot. Indianapolis has become more aggressive and now and have overall done well, keeping guys like Adrian Peterson from rushing over 100 yards or Aaron Rodgers taking over a game.
The big problem would be the health on this defense, with star players like Robert Mathis, Dwight Freeney or Vontae Davis always coming down with an injury sometimes. They will need to stay healthy, along with Davis needing to step his game up.
The Colts also have one of the best linebacking cores. Asides from Freeney and Mathis, Jerrell Freeman and Kavell Conner have done wonders for this team. And with Pat Angerer set to return sometime this season, it just makes things ever better.
The Colts are really glad that wide receiver Reggie Wayne didn't ditch the team to join the New England Patriots or Manning with the Denver Broncos this past-off-season, because the 12-year-veteran has done wonders far this season for Indianapolis.
Wayne has been putting up big numbers game-after-game and is showing that he is the veteran leader of this young squad. He had a career-day against the Packers last week when he put up 212 yards off of 13 catches with a touchdown.
So far this season, Wayne has 36 catches for 506 yards and two touchdowns on the season. He's well on his way to a Pro Bowl.
He's shown he has a valuable asset to quarterback Andrew Luck and if he keeps doing what he is right now, it can go a long way this year.
Come on, you can't see this Colts team being successful if it weren't for Luck.
Luck has single-handedly help turn this team around. I don't think there's any other quarterback so far this season that has been more clutch in the final two minutes of a game than Luck his. With only four games under his belt, Luck has already led two game-winning drives and almost had a near-third against Jacksonville.
Luck is athletic and helped bring in some huge runs and amazing passes versus the Packers last week. He's so far thrown for 1,208 yards with seven touchdowns, along with 104 yards on the ground, averaging 6.4 yards per run!
Luck has been solid this season and is playing nothing like your typical rookie.
With head coach Chuck Pagano diagnosed with leukemia, he will be treated for it for the rest of the season. It's a big, tragic loss for the year and it touches this team deeply.
However, you can see the motivation, thrill and will of this team now ever since it has happened. Winning game-after-game all for the coach is a big task to do, but that's what it looks like that the Colts are trying to accomplish.
So far, they have succeeded with step one when upsetting the Packers. They can keep rolling with this, because it is working and the defense is more pumped than ever.
The question is, how much motivation can they ride on?
Can They Do It?
So the real question is: can they make the playoffs?
It's very possible, yes, but let's remember that the AFC is pretty unpredictable and the Colts are one of those teams. They could do amazing one week and suffer the next.
This team is still young and health has continued to play a major problem for them. Their defense continues to be banged up week after week. With Freeney back from injury, Mathis is now already declared out for two-to-three weeks as he recently went down with an ankle injury.
There's also running back Donald Brown, who'll be out for the next two-to-three weeks as he recovers from surgery. Vick Ballard, a rookie, will be filling in for him.
I can definitely see the Colts winning seven-to-nine games. But 10 or 11 does seem tough, but it's very doable. I think they can do it, but it will be hard.
We'll see as the season drags on, but this Colts team looks like they have a very promising future ahead for them.