The Colts have greatly improved their team this offseason, even with trading away their first-round pick in the draft. With a (hopefully) healthy Andrew Luck going into this season, the sky is the limit for the Colts this year. But what is their biggest threat this year?
The AFC is stacked with talent from the revamped Raiders offense, the Patriots who are always good, and the Jets who gained a once-in-a-lifetime player. Even with all the threats on different teams, some got worse.
Pittsburgh got hit the hardest with losing Antonio Brown and Le’Veon Bell, arguably two of the best players at their respective positions. The Patriots lost Rob Gronkowski to retirement and an aging Tom Brady is closing in on retirement. Leaving the Colts and Chiefs atop the AFC powerhouse in the next 3-5 years.
But not looking too far in the future but into 2019, what is the biggest threat to the Colts? Not many teams got “way better” in simple terms to make people scared of them. The only team on paper that is a challenge is Oakland due to their moves on offense.
The Falcons are a good team but have they done enough to be contenders again? Not really. Maybe the Saints? But did they do much in the offseason to improve greatly from their robbed Super Bowl appearance against the Patriots? Again, not really.
Looking inward at the AFC South, we start with Tennessee. They signed Kenny Vaccaro, the former Saints safety with bit hitting power and a good sense of the ball. He’s aging but still has a good talent for the price. They also signed Cameron Wake, an elite force on the defensive line for the past few years and a force who’s sacked Tom Brady many, many times for the Dolphins.
However, they also signed Adam Humphries and Rodger Saffold two average players at their position.. The Titans have struggled at the wide receiver position for many years and outside of the one-hit-wonder that was Chris Johnson, their running back situation has been average at best.
Their defense is much better than people let on with Jurrell Casey on the inside and Cameron Wake on the outside, that’s no easy feat to defend just one of those guys, but both are nearly impossible at the same time. The Titans are an average team at best right now, even with all the acquisitions in 2019.
The next team is the Houston Texans. Besides re-signing a few players they haven’t done much. However, getting J.J. Watt back, who I still believe is the best player in the NFL right now, is huge. They placed a franchise tag on Jadeveon Clowney making their front seven a major weapon for the team.
However, they still have elite talent in DeAndre Hopkins and Deshaun Watson is only going to get better. Ever since the Texans were lining up against Peyton Manning they have been trying to A) draft players to get a ton of sacks or B) draft players to put up 50 points a game against the Colts.
Houston and Indy have historically been close in games and they’ve both had come-from-behind wins that shocked the other team. Houston hasn’t done enough to make me believe they’re the biggest threats.
More from Horseshoe Heroes
- Colts explored hiring former quarterback and current ESPN analyst Dan Orlovsky
- When is the NFL Combine 2023? NFL Combine schedule, events, how to stream
- Latest NFL mock draft has Colts trading up to No. 1 for star QB
- Eagles offensive free agents that could follow Shane Steichen to Colts
- Here’s why Colts linebacker Shaq Leonard is going to love Shane Steichen
The final team in our division is the Jacksonville Jaguars. Not but two years ago did this team seem formidable when they were destroying New England. Then they crumbled and let them come back to win and eventually won the Super Bowl against the Falcons.
However, they’ve always had one problem: Blake Bortles. But this year they signed arguably the biggest free agent of the season, besides Bell of course. The Super Bowl MVP, Nick Foles, signed with the Jags making them a better than the average team. The defense is still elite despite their record last year.
Jacksonville is the most underrated team in the AFC South right now and they’re dangerous. The defense is practically unchanged, which means it’s still elite to an extent and the offense only got better with the addition of Foles. Leonard Fournette is still a top 15 running back and that team was a competent quarterback away from being a contender the past few years.
This year, the Jags are going to be better than they have been and they will surprise the Colts in their toughness and how hard they are to play. The Colts have improved their defense and are going to have a fully healthy offense at the beginning of the season.
The biggest threats to the team are inside the division. The Jags top the list, then the Texans, then the Titans. Oakland is going to be a tougher game, and the Falcons won’t be a walk in the park either. The hardest games are going to be Oakland, at Houston, at Jacksonville, and against the Chiefs.
When 2018 was over, you could feel the hunger with the Colts, like they had left something on the field in Arrowhead last year. The 2019 season is something of an enigma due to the many unknowns this team has on their roster.
Will Andrew Luck finally be healthy? Can the defense repeat last year? Will the wide receiver corp be better and will Luck have more weapons other than Doyle, Ebron, and Hilton? Can the offensive line hold the opposing team back long enough to allow plays to develop?
These questions are legitimate and need to be answered before the season starts if the Colts have any chance of making it to the Super Bowl again.
I predicted the Colts record to be somewhere around 12-4 or 11-5 with a division title again. This season is going to be a fun season and I can’t wait to see the Colts play at the elite level and get back to the Super Bowl contender we know they can be.