10 Players That Will Lead The Indianapolis Colts To The Playoffs in 2013

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10 Players That Will Lead The Indianapolis Colts To The Playoffs in 2013

10 Players That Will Lead The Indianapolis Colts To The Playoffs in 2013
Mitch Stringer - USATODAY Sports

The Indianapolis Colts had an incredible turnaround in 2012, going from a two-win team in 2011 to a team that was 11-5 and making the playoffs. The Colts came together in support of their head coach Chuck Pagano, who missed a large chunk of the season due to his battle with leukemia, but returned in time to coach the Colts in the playoffs.

Of course, a big part of the Colts’ resurrection was quarterback Andrew Luck, the first overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft. Luck came to Indianapolis as advertised, and completely turned the team around in one season. But the Colts relied far too much on Luck last season, and if they expect to get back to the playoffs in 2013, Luck will need a lot more help around him.

Obviously, the Colts will look to add some pieces in the upcoming draft, but the team has already tried to make some moves in free agency to help its cause. The defense appears to be in much better shape than it was a year ago, and the offensive talent around Luck should be as good, if not better than it was in 2012.

But getting back to the playoffs in 2013 may not be as simple as it sounds. It’s going to take a full team effort for the Colts to return to the playoffs this year and move past the wildcard round. Here’s a look at 10 players that will be front and center for the Colts this year as they make their way back to the playoffs.

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10. Darrius Heyward-Bey

10. Darrius Heyward-Bey
Kelley L. Cox - USATODAY Sports

Heyward-Bey didn’t live up to the expectations of being a first round pick with the Oakland Raiders, but a change of scenery, and more importantly, a change of quarterback should be good for him. He won’t have the pressure of being the main target in Indianapolis and with the pressure off, Heyward-Bey should be a lot better.

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9. Vontae Davis

9. Vontae Davis
Tim Fuller - USATODAY Sports

Davis is the best cornerback the Colts have. He can’t control how the rest of the secondary plays, but he can control how he plays and if he has a good season, the Colts’ secondary should be able to hold its own.

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8. Aubrayo Franklin

8. Aubrayo Franklin
Kirby Lee - USATODAY Sports

Franklin is the kind of veteran the Colts really need on the defensive line. He’s an experienced player that can still get the job done in the trenches, and he’ll definitely help upgrade Indy’s defensive front from a year ago after coming to the Colts in free agency.

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7. Antoine Bethea

7. Antoine Bethea
Thomas Campbell - USATODAY Sports

Bethea is entering the prime of his career and is due for a big season now that he finally has some help around him in the Indianapolis secondary. He was their second-leading tackler a year ago and should have just as much of an impact this year.

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6. T.Y. Hilton

6. T.Y. Hilton
Thomas J. Russo - USATODAY Sports

Hilton had a great rookie season with 50 catches and seven touchdowns. He should be even better this year, as he continues to establish himself as a downfield threat.

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5. LaRon Landry

5. LaRon Landry
Steve Mitchell - USATODAY Sports

Landry was perhaps the best free agent pickup for the Colts this offseason. He will provide the boost that the secondary and the entire defense needs, and help the Colts become more than just an offense-oriented team.

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4. Reggie Wayne

4. Reggie Wayne
Brian Spurlock - USATODAY Sports

Yes, Wayne is getting a little old, but he is still an invaluable part of the team after hauling in 106 catches last season. He may not have much left in the tank, but with a quarterback in place and some young and talented receivers around him, Wayne is going to give it everything he’s got to get Indianapolis back to the playoffs.

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3. Adam Vinatieri

3. Adam Vinatieri
Phil Sears - USATODAY Sports

The Colts can’t afford to leave points on the field this year and they’re going to have to win close games, and that’s where Vinatieri comes in. He’s not the kicker he once was, but he’s still capable of coming through in the clutch.

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2. Robert Mathis

2. Robert Mathis
Brian Spurlock - USATODAY Sports

With Dwight Freeney leaving Indy, there’s going to be a lot more pressure on Mathis to perform. He was the team leader in sacks last year, and he’ll have to have an even better season this year as the Colts’ top pass rusher.

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1. Andrew Luck

1. Andrew Luck
Kirby Lee - USATODAY Sports

It all starts with Luck. He should be even better in year two than he was during his rookie season, and now that the Colts have started to get some help around him, there’s no telling how good he can be and how far he can take Indianapolis.


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