Why the Colts Will Make the Playoffs
After making the playoffs in the first three seasons of the Chuck Pagano-Andrew Luck era, the Indianapolis Colts have failed to return to the postseason in the past two years. However, this will be the year the Colts make it back to the playoffs.
The Colts have made a lot of moves this offseason that could set them up for a playoff run in 2017.
First, letting go of general manager Ryan Grigson and bringing in Chris Ballard was probably the best move of the entire offseason. Ballard has been able to make plenty of moves that benefit the team, from free agent signings to drafting key players in positions of need.
I know that every Colts is on the edge of their seat waiting to see what is going to happen with Luck, and if he is able to play in Week 1 because of his shoulder injury. But the latest reports make it sound like he shouldn’t miss too much time.
Even if Luck has to miss the first game and they start out 0-1, they still have a strong chance to make the playoffs because the AFC South is still a weak division.
The Tennessee Titans are a team on the rise after adding a multitude of offensive weapons, and they return a healthy Marcus Mariota at quarterback. However, I don’t see them being able to match the offensive production of last year, and teams can adjust to Mariota’s playing style.
The Jacksonville Jaguars are a team that has potential and a lot of talent, but they won’t be much of a threat in the division, especially if quarterback Blake Bortles matches his performance from last season.
The Houston Texans are a team that has a strong defense, especially with defensive end J.J. Watt coming back from injury. However, they won’t be able to put up enough offense to carry them to the playoffs.
This doesn’t mean the Colts will necessarily win the division because they have plenty of weaknesses themselves.
Indianapolis will make the playoffs, but it won’t be as the division winner. They will make it with a 9-7 record that will land them one of the two AFC Wild Card spots.
The Titans should be the favorite to win the division. If they can stay healthy, they will win the AFC South with their crop of young talent.
The Colts’ easy schedule will benefit them this season.
According to ESPN, the Colts have the easiest schedule heading into the 2017 season where their opponents had a combined record of108.5 wins and 147.5 losses in 2016.
The Colts did just take a huge hit along the offensive line with center Ryan Kelly going down with a foot injury, but he should be back for the second half of the season.
The Colts shouldn’t be too concerned with their offense as they finished 8th in the NFL in points per game last year (25.7).
Defensively, you have to think the additions of first round safety Malik Hooker and pass-rusher Jabaal Sheard will benefit a defense that ranked 30th in total defense in 2016.
The Colts may not have enough to win the AFC South this year, but they have plenty of talent to make it back to the playoffs in 2017.