Sports

The Colts were a trendy Super Bowl pick last season, this season they want to be a favorite

Stephon Gilmore
Picture: Getty Photographs

The Indianapolis Colts have been actually not thrilled with the best way that their 2021 season ended. It began in disappointing style by shedding their first three video games. They improved, however nonetheless misplaced twice to division rival Tennessee Titans, together with a heartbreaker at house — 34-31 in extra time. Then the Colts went on a tear.

They gained six of their subsequent seven video games, forcing individuals to understand their roster was one of many deepest within the NFL. When wholesome, their offensive line was excellent and their major ball provider, Jonathan Taylor, was distinctive behind that group, totaling 2,171 yards from scrimmage and 20 touchdowns. Michael Pittman Jr. confirmed that he’s a succesful No. 1 extensive receiver with 88 catches for 1,082 yards and 6 touchdowns. The Colts protection was ranked seventh total in weighted DVOA by Soccer Outsiders.

By Week 17, the Colts have been a classy decide to win the Tremendous Bowl, after which their season ended with a loud fart as an alternative of a bang. They misplaced at house to the Las Vegas Raiders, however nonetheless solely needed to beat the Jacksonville Jaguars to get to the playoffs. The Jaguars, who had a couple of weeks prior fired their coach, City Meyer, throughout one of many nice single-season disasters in NFL historical past, ended their season with the good comfort prize of their second win of the season, and the bonus of knocking a division rival out of the playoffs — the Colts.

That loaded roster couldn’t make a seven-team playoff, so as an alternative of standing pat, they determined to make some adjustments. For one, they didn’t hesitate to bail on Carson Wentz after one season and the all of 185 yards he totaled on 17 cross makes an attempt in a must-win recreation towards a horrible workforce. The Colts are going with a distinct starter this season, the ever regular Matt Ryan. The 2016 MVP will not be spectacular, however there’s an excellent likelihood that he is not going to be spectacularly terrible particularly on a workforce this gifted.

Not happy with their protection as is, the Colts inked one other NFL award winner to a contract. Immediately, they signed 2019 Defensive Participant of the Yr Stephon Gilmore to a two-year deal. He was traded halfway by final season from the New England Patriots to the Carolina Panthers. He’ll play reverse Professional Bowl cornerback Kenny Moore II.

Gilmore wasn’t the one participant the Colts added to their stout protection. To bolster their cross rush they traded for Yannick Ngakoue, who totaled 10 sacks final season, the second double-digit sack season of his profession. He’ll be a part of a entrance seven that already consists of a few of the finest gamers within the NFL in Darius Leonard and DeForest Buckner.

The Colts might nonetheless use some velocity at extensive receiver, however sadly their most obvious weak point this yr is that they don’t have a first-round draft selection. Nonetheless, it is a deep extensive receiver class, and Chris Ballard has confirmed himself to be nice at discovering expertise at any spherical in the course of the NFL Draft.

They’d each motive to be upset with the best way that final season ended, however going all in has no ensures, particularly within the loaded AFC. The Colts are nonetheless going to should struggle off the Titans of their division, and a playoff matchup towards the Buffalo Payments, Kansas Metropolis Chiefs, or 2021 AFC Champion Cincinnati Bengals on the horizon. Additionally the Baltimore Ravens ought to have higher harm luck than they did final season, and the Cleveland Browns may also be a championship contender after including Deshaun Watson, and they’re going to even be hoping that the harm bug doesn’t come biting so laborious in 2022.

The street to the Tremendous Bowl isn’t easy by any means for the Indianapolis Colts, however they’ve loaded up as finest as they’ll for the journey. It’s a roster that may stack up with any within the NFL, all they should do now’s keep as wholesome as doable and keep away from tripping over their very own two ft once more on the finish of the season.

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