2015 NFL Preview: Indianapolis Colts

2015 NFL Preview: Indianapolis Colts

The Indianapolis Colts have been gradually climbing the ladder in the AFC hierarchy since Andrew Luck took the quarterbacking reins in 2012. Luck’s rookie season resulted in an 11-5 record and Wildcard berth, year two brought a division crown and epic comeback win in the Wildcard round, and year three gave way to a second straight division crown, a playoff upset over Denver, and the team’s first AFC Championship appearance since 2009. Entering 2015, with both the Patriots and Broncos facing uncertain futures, Indy is a heavy favorite among the talking heads and pigskin pundits to advance to Super Bowl 50. Upgrades on both sides of the ball coupled with Luck’s immense talent are legitimate reasons to back the Colts. However, with increased expectations comes increased pressure, which is something that can bury teams that aren’t properly prepared. Here’s a preview of the 2015 Indianapolis Colts.

Outlook: Luck was sensational in 2014, but accuracy and fumbling issues are a slight concern. Two or three WTF throws per game and the occasional sloppy ball security has cost the Colts wins. That said, Luck’s uncanny ability to rally the troops and perform in the clutch is what makes him a surefire Hall of Famer. Head coach Chuck Pagano finally allowed his star signal-caller to run the show last year and that must continue. Ditching cinder block in cleats Trent Richardson was a smart move from both an on-the-field and philosophical perspective. Franchise quarterbacks need to be leaned on even if it means sacrificing offensive balance. Getting Robert Mathis back from a torn Achilles will help a defense in need of a consistent pass rush. Bottom line: as long as Luck is healthy, Indy is a contender.

Later, dude: After 14 glorious seasons, the Colts waved goodbye to wide receiver Reggie Wayne. He will undoubtedly go down as one of the best players in franchise history. On the other hand, the aforementioned Trent Richardson will go down as the center piece in one of the worst trades in NFL history. Unless you’re a Browns fan. Nevertheless, T-Rich is fittingly in Oakland, where careers die slow and painful deaths. Cory Redding was reliable defensive end for three seasons, but at age 34, it was time to move on. Reserve safety Sergio Brown flashed as a part-time starter in 2014, just not enough to warrant a new contract. Hakeem Nicks offered little in the way of consistent production, so he’s now a Titan.

Welcome aboard: Sensing a Super Bowl berth was within reach, the front office opened up the coffers to sign an impressive list of 30-somethings in the hopes that their cumulative experience will aid in the quest for Lombardi. Andre Johnson, Frank Gore, Trent Cole, Todd Herremans, and Dwight Lowery are all past their prime, but they should have enough in the tank to improve the roster as a whole. Rookie speedster Phillip Dorsett joins an already loaded wide receiving corps, but has the skill to make noise early. Third-round cornerback D’Joun Smith will be given a chance to earn significant playing time once training camp opens.

Over/Under wins – 10.5: Drawing New England, Denver, and New Orleans at home is a plus on the schedule, although it might not even matter because this roster is chock-full of quality players on both sides of the ball. Reaching 13 wins isn’t a stretch.

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