Are The Indianapolis Colts More Than Just AFC South Contenders?
07 November 2020
Jim Irsay had hoped to win multiple Super Bowls with Andrew Luck at quarterback. However, when his prized quarterback suddenly retired as the 2019 season approached, the mission changed.
Winning the Super Bowl would have still been great, of course. But remaining competitive was a more realistic goal.
While Jacoby Brissett did not do a bad job for the Colts last season, he did not do a great job, either. Overall, the Colts were still a competitive team, but they struggled to get the job done when the game was on the line.
They had a good defense, an exceptional offensive line, and run game, but they were still missing something—someone they could lean on to make the big play in crunch time.
Yes, they had Brissett, but he did not have that ‘it’ factor. He was good enough to play the position but not good enough to make something happen when the team needed him to. In short, he wasn’t clutch.
He could be, in time, of course. But if the Colts waited for him to develop, they would risk losing critical pieces of the defense and offensive line to injury, free agency, or retirement. So, they went out and got a veteran quarterback they felt could get the job done when the game is on the line—Philip Rivers.
Rivers has been far from perfect, but he has done a good job overall. His first game, a loss to the lowly Jacksonville Jaguars, made it look like the Colts were getting the version of Rivers that the Chargers were okay with letting go.
Since then, his play has improved dramatically. The team has won five of its last six, and it looks poised and ready to continue winning games. It is safe to say they are a good team; that is not in question.
But what is in question is just how far this good team can go.
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How Good Are The Indianapolis Colts?
At 5-2, the Indianapolis Colts are not favored to win the AFC South heading into Week Nine. But their odds are pretty good (+100 via DraftKings; Tennessee Titans favored at -137). If they do not win the division, they are expected to make the playoffs, though (Yes -225; No +180).
They are not the favorite to win the AFC, of course, but their odds do put them in the top five (+1200). As for the Super Bowl, they have longer odds (+2500), but that does not necessarily mean anything.
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With the Texans and Jaguars holding onto 1-6 records, it is safe to say the division race will come down to either the Colts or Titans. However, it is hard to say who the better team is.
Indianapolis has a better defense by far. The Colts also have a much better point differential (+62 to +24), but can the Colts count on Rivers to put points on the board when they need them most?
That is hard to say.
The Colts defense is currently ranked second in the league against the run, but they have not really faced an excellent run team or running back, other than Dalvin Cook, yet.
They will face the best run team in the league this week (the Baltimore Ravens) and get two shots at Derek Henry before the month ends. Sandwiched between their games against Henry and the Titans is another tough match-up—Aaron Jones and the Green Bay Packers.
Actually– when you look at their record, they haven’t beaten anyone worth bragging about this season. Chicago has a winning record, but that is going to change in the weeks ahead. The only other opponent they have faced with a winning record is the Cleveland Browns, who they lost to.
So, maybe the question should not be how far they can go, but whether they are even legitimate contenders for the division, let alone the AFC or Super Bowl.
How Should You Bet?
By the time December rolls around, we will know what to expect from the Indianapolis Colts this season. If they can go 2-2 in November and 3-1 in December (they play the Texans 2x, the Raiders, and Steelers), they will have a great shot at the division title.
Should the Tennessee Titans win the division, they will get one of the wild card spots.
Whether they can win the AFC even to make it to the Super Bowl will depend on how this week’s game against the Ravens goes. Can their defense slow down Lamar Jackson and the juggernaut that is the Ravens run game? That is hard to say. But even if they can, will the offense be able to put points on the board?
With the potential losses due to Covid-19 protocols, maybe. But if the Ravens defense was 100 percent? That is hard to say. Stopping Aaron Rodgers and the Packers in two weeks will tell us if they have a legitimate shot at winning it all.
The Colts will make the playoffs, but it is hard to say whether they will win the division. If you have not bet on them already, the payout is not worth the risk. As for the AFC and Super Bowl, wait until December. By the end of November, we’ll have a good idea of how good they are.
Betting Play: Indianapolis Colts to make the playoffs
Travis a native-Texan which is where his love of football originated. But after moving around a lot when he was younger, he was able to develop an appreciation for the game and not just his favorite teams. He now lives in Indiana with his wife, Nicole, and two kids, Jackson and Addison. You can find him on Twitter at @FatManWriting.