It’s all about the run.
With one of the best passing attacks in the game, this team’s fortunes will rise and fall with what they can do with the running game – both theirs and their opponents.
Can they stop teams from running on them and can they establish a running game of their own?
A trip to Super Bowl 50 lies in the answer to those questions.
Super Bowl Odds: Indianapolis Colts
Super Bowl: 9-1
AFC Conference Champs: 4-1
(odds courtesy 5Dimes Sports)
No question marks surround Andrew Luck and the passing game. They’re an elite unit. The Reggie Wayne-out, Andre Johnson-in swap makes them better, but I’m not sure by how much. Johnson has more in the tank than Wayne, no doubt, but he’s not a top-tier pass catcher in this league anymore.
Look for him to play a role similar to the one Wayne played – more of a safety blanket.
Frank Gore is now a Colt; Trent Richardson is….I’m not actually sure where he is and don’t really care. The running game instantly got better.
Look for Gore to book a 1,000-yard plus season and force D-coordinators to consider the running attack when they game plan for this offense. That will be new.
The offensive upgrades are nice. But it was a little odd that they focused on that side of the ball rather than the D.
Hello, anyone remember that day last January when the Patriots made your defense look like the 2014 Bears on a trip to Lambeau.
If they don’t get the run-stop sorted, the degree of difficulty for Luck is going to be too high. It will almost assuredly all come crashing down again in late January, one game too soon.
The D does benefit from an offense that will take some pressure off in most games. They should get out to leads, forcing opposing offensive coordinators into uncomfortable situations. Situations that are quite favorable for a defense. That will go a long way.
And if Cole, Langford and Irving settle in, they’ll be better, maybe even a top 12 unit. If that’s the case, the last plane the Colts get on before a trip to San Fran in February will be that Week 15 flight to Miami.
Which is good – they need home playoff games (I know, who doesn’t, but they really do).
Look for Luck and the Colts to stay home in January and take that next big step, winning the AFC and heading west for Super Bowl 50.
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