The Colts played one of their most complete games on Sunday since the memorable night in October when Peyton came back to his crib and lost to the boys from Indy. All sorts of of adjectives have been used to describe this team- Some of them good, and some not so much. One thing that is definitely true is this team is difficult to predict.
The Colts were favored by Vegas at home on Sunday, but if you had seen any of the pre-game shows, one would have thought that they were the 2-11 team instead of the Texans. Somehow, despite injuries plaguing the offensive line, wide receiver position, and running back depth after Donald Brown’s injury, this team overcame those and turned out a very good performance at a critical point. Countless articles, fan posts, and analysts have questioned whether the Colts are good or not. Donald Brown was asked this question point blank on ESPN Radio’s SVP & Russillo show.
So, are the Colts any good? That is the question, but as hard as it is to predict which team will show up, they sit atop the AFC South at 9-5. Furthermore, they clinched a home game in the playoffs at the very minimum with better positioning still obtainable.
Let’s look at their wins and losses up to this point in the season.
Raiders, 49ers, Jaguars, Seahawks, Broncos, Texans, Titans, Titans, Texans
Losses: Dolphins, Chargers, Rams, Cardinals, Bengals
Now, lets look at teams still alive in the playoff picture:
The Broncos, Bengals and Seahawks are leading their divisions and are currently slated to host home games. The Broncos and Seahawks are currently seeded as the number one team in their conference with home-field advantage. The current Wild Card Teams are the Dophins (depending upon Raven’s game Monday night, could drop to in the hunt) and 49ers. Teams in the hunt are the Chargers and the Cardinals. Teams eliminated: Titans, Texans, Jaguars, and the Rams (who are 6-6). So, using this data, some of the losses that were considered bad early on, really are not. For instance, the loss to Dolphins and Chargers looked bad but right now, the Dolphins would be in, and the Chargers are right behind them as a team that could be in if things go their direction. Same can be said with the Cardinals who are in the hunt and are still mathematically alive. Those add up to three of their five losses. Let’s look at the other two losses. Last week the Colts lost to the Bengals (who are currently leading the AFC North with the same 9-5 record but hold the tie-breaker over the Colts). That leaves just the Rams who are eliminated from the playoff with a record of 6-6. Teams that are still alive in the NFC have records of 7-7, so even though they are eliminated, they really aren’t that bad and could be considered a borderline playoff team.
Another fact that maybe seemed remote just a few weeks ago is something that could come to fruition if things break in the Colts favor. Home field advantage throughout the playoffs is still obtainable. Yes, that is one hundred percent true, the Colts can still obtain home field advantage with some losses by Denver and Kansas City and wins over Kansas City (Wild Card team currently) and the Jaguars (who are not in the playoffs). A more likely scenario is the second seed overall; again with losses by Cincinnati and New England and the Colts winning their remaining two games. Realistically though, the third or fourth seed is most likely where they finish.
I remember thinking just a few weeks ago that the Colts may not win any of their remaining games after a brutal win over Tennessee. They just seemed to be too deficient in too many areas and had a negative point differential (for the second straight year). We knew the issues, warts, blemishes that they had and still have. Then something happened, a loss to a team that is perceived to be good-the Bengals. They started off just like the past games, falling behind on the scoreboard, but then something happened. A spark, by some young players started something offensively that continued on to their win over the Texans. This Colts team is starting to fix all these issues and it’s coming at the right time, the time heading into the post season.
Their issues have been discussed to death, but maybe this team isn’t as bad as we often perceive them to be. As fans we often view things hypercritically. Maybe we are the ones who need to examine what we consider “good or bad” to be. The Colts, by most normal standards, should be considered good. Take a step back and breathe, most teams would love to be in their position. Yes, this team has issues on many levels, but somehow they don’t let them define them. They simply show up and fight on the field as a team, good or bad. They are simply the Colts!