There is no doubt the Indianapolis Colts have talent. They won nine games a year ago but missed the playoffs thanks to losses in their final two games.
That brought about changes as they sought to upgrade at quarterback, again. Out went Carson Wentz and in came Matt Ryan. Wentz has always been a lightning rod, but if you look at his numbers, he led a solid offense. Was he going to lead the Colts to a Super Bowl? Probably not, but this is an offense that is more ground-heavy than almost every other team in the NFL. (They were second in rushing last year.)
That is not the kind of offense that Ryan is accustomed to leading, so it will be interesting to see how this works. Asking the veteran to do less than he was asked to do in Atlanta should work, right?
On defense, the Colts were a classic bend-but-don’t-break group. Darius Leonard might be the best middle linebacker in the NFL, but being elite at that position is not as advantageous as it used to be. They need to put more pressure on the quarterback. Signing cornerback Stephon Gilmore might turn into a super savvy move. You need pressure off the edge, but you need an elite corner to win too.
Indy has a very sturdy floor, but its ceiling is wide-open for debate.
Indianapolis Colts win totals
Over 9.5 (-160)
Under 9.5 (+135)
Best Bet: Under 9.5
When I first started looking at the Colts’ schedule, I thought it would be easy to get to 10 wins. The Colts are a quality team, and they get to play the combo of Houston and Jacksonville four times, including both on the road to start the season.
Even with those four wins seemingly in the bank, I just couldn’t get there. The AFC South plays the AFC West this season, and I think the Colts are going to be underdogs in all four of those games. They get Kansas City and the Los Angeles Chargers at home and the Denver Broncos and Las Vegas Raiders on the road. That is a real chunk of their schedule.
The Colts also get the NFC East, but the way the schedule lines up, they have to play at Dallas on a short week, and hosting Philadelphia is not going to be an easy one either. Hosting the Commanders is a nice spot, and visiting New York to play the Giants on New Year’s Day should be an easy victory.
Some other games that round out the schedule are trips to New England and Minnesota. That is another grouping where I expect them to be underdogs. Both teams should be better than a year ago.
Like I said in the intro, I thought it would be easy to get to 10 wins, which the odds are saying is the consensus opinion. I am happy to be in the profitable minority with the Colts, though. They are certainly going to be very competitive in a lot of games, and their finale against Houston should be a gimme that might help them get into the playoffs.
It just won’t put them over the win total.