After a slow start to the season, the Indianapolis Colts have rattled off five straight wins to improve to 5-2. They are currently the two seed in the playoffs.
Seven weeks is all it took for the Colts place themselves in the upper echelon of the AFC and NFL.
According to Football Outsiders, the Colts have a 98.9-percent chance to make the playoffs. They have a 76-percent shot at a Bye Week in the playoffs and 23.5-percent chance at making the Super Bowl.
What is most surprising about this team is what the defense has managed to accomplish over the past five weeks. We knew what this offense and Andrew Luck were capable of, especially if you paid attention at the end of last season.
Before the season began, this defense was riddled with holes and question marks. There were issues with the secondary and no one knew where the pass rush would come from. Robert Mathis‘ season ending injury just made matters worse.
Now? The secondary is the defense’s greatest strength (second in passes defended) and the pass rush is the third best in the NFL with 21 sacks.
Coincidently, both left Giovani Bernard with psychological scars on Sunday due to devastating hits within three plays of each other. He’ll be hearing footsteps in his sleep for a while.
The defense gave up 61 points in the first two games, but currently rank fourth in points allowed with 19.8 per game. Yes, in the past five weeks the Colts have faced some truly inferior opponents but the Bengals and Ravens both look like playoff contenders.
Even with the level of competition, the Colts haven’t played down. They have managed to dominate their foes in a fashion that suggests this team really has turned a corner.
We will learn a lot more about the defense as the Colts face two tough road tests against the Steelers and Giants.
The most encouraging factor is that the coaches finally seem to understand how to win the NFL. There is no more talk about running the ball and stopping the run. They no longer insist on rushing the ball or taking T.Y. Hilton off the field for inferior players.
Fourth-and-short is no longer an automatic punt and kickoffs aren’t a bathroom break, not with a potential Pat McAfee onside kick in the cards.
This team is willing to do whatever it takes to win. Control the ball? Impose their will? No, its all about scoring now.
Gone are the slow starts that plagued this team in the past. The team is no longer reliant on second half heroics to save them from a loss. The Colts are winning games from start to finish, and in some cases putting them away by halftime.
There are still areas of concern, every team has them. The Colts need to be more efficient in the red zone and avoid turnovers on promising drives. There are also times when the defense loses focus and lets an opponent slip in a quick score to get back into the game. Both are things that will get cleaned up as the season progresses.
Right now, this is one of the best team’s in the NFL. And perhaps the best thing you could say about this team is that it isn’t just the Luck show. They are producing in all three phases of the game at an elite level.
Will this team win the Super Bowl? I have no idea. The playoffs are incredibly unpredictable. All that matters now is that the Colts are a sure thing to get in and that is really all that matters. Make the playoffs and anything can happen.
The offense is good enough to get this team into the playoffs, but Colts fans are well aware that it isn’t always enough to have that talented offense. If the defense continues to play at this level, the Colts will be looking at another title run.