The Indianapolis Colts lived a charmed in life in 2012, jumping instantly from a two-win year to an 11-5 mark en route to an AFC wild-card berth. While Andrew Luck‘s first year saw its fair share of inaccuracy and poor decisions — throwing 18 interceptions — he also made some incredible plays and showed an innate sense of rising to the moment at the end of contests. It will be interesting to see if the Colts’ ability to win eight games is decided by a score or will it carry over into the 2013 NFL season.
Why 2013 will be different than last year:
I don’t like to say that winning more close games than the norm is akin to luck, as there is a skill in doing so that some teams consistently show more than others. However, the quality of wins Indy had in those many narrow fairs makes me wonder how well this will translate to an ostensibly tougher 2013 slate. The Colts knocked off playoff squads in the Minnesota Vikings and Houston Texans, but both of those wins came around a time when their opponent was slumping badly.
Props are definitely in order for the win against the Green Bay Packers, however, but a key showdown late in the season against the New England Patriots saw Indy embarrassed badly against playoff-caliber competition. The 2013 slate takes it up several notches with the NFC West cued up along with battles against the Denver Broncos and Cincinnati Bengals.
The incredible knack to pull out games late and the weaker schedule cast aside, the 2012 season does have elements that should certainly translate. Seeing rookies like Dwayne Charles, Vick Ballard and T.Y. Hilton rapidly catch on around Luck bodes well for 2013. One would expect such a young core to only improve next year, and that may just be the case despite factors of schedule and fortune normalizing.
2013 Prediction: 9-7, second in AFC South