The 2012 Indianapolis Colts were the surprise team of the league last season as they earned a trip to the playoffs after being the NFL’s worst the season before. With a rookie quarterback and new coaching staff as the only major differences from 2011, nobody could have predicted they would finish 11-5.
Coach Chuck Pagano and offensive coordinator Bruce Arians did an amazing job turning this team around in their first season. Unfortunately, the 2013 Colts will be without Arians, who earned a much-deserved head coaching position with the Arizona Cardinals.
Pep Hamilton, Andrew Luck’s offensive coordinator at Stanford, will be replacing him.
Whether or not Indy’s offense is good enough to cover the performance of the defense will be the big question this year. The Colts did very little in the offseason to repair last year’s squad that ranked 26th in total defense. To keep this team moving in the right direction, Luck will have to perform among the league’s elite quarterbacks.
He will need to join the likes of Drew Brees, Peyton Manning, Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers, and become one of those special quarterbacks who can lead their team to the playoffs despite a sub-par performance from the defense. Thus far, Luck is 1-for-1 at this.
With some more help on offense, I believe he will be 2-for-2. The signing of Darrius Heyward-Bey and the improvement of T.Y. Hilton will give the offense a nice boost in weapons. The addition of Gosder Cherilus should also be a decent upgrade to last season’s inconsistent offensive line.
The schedule isn’t too rough with the exception of a few brutal games on the road against the San Francisco 49ers, Houston Texans and Cincinnati Bengals. Home games against the Texans, Seattle Seahawks and Denver Broncos should also provide a challenge, but outside of that, they face only teams who had losing records in 2012.
I’m a big believer in Luck, his leadership and the Colts’ offense this season. I think they’ll be able to shoot with the best of them and repeat with a record of 11-5.