Colts: PFF’s worst-case scenario for Indy doesn’t sound impossible

May 27, 2021; Indianapolis, Indiana, USA; Indianapolis Colts quarterback Carson Wentz (2) Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports
May 27, 2021; Indianapolis, Indiana, USA; Indianapolis Colts quarterback Carson Wentz (2) Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports /
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Whenever you read a fanciful worst-case scenario about your favorite team as a petrified fan, the goal is always to eyeball it, decide, “Eh, that sounds extremely unlikely,” and then move onto unbridled optimism.

Unfortunately for Colts fans, the Pro Football Focus projection released this week for the team’s 10th-percentile (e.g. extremely unlikely, but possible) outcome sounds a lot more legitimate than we wanted it to.

Especially when compared with the 90th-percentile “best case” for the 2021 season.

In a somewhat disheartening turn of events, PFF believes that if the Colts by and large reach all of their individual ceilings, they won’t climb any higher than 11-6 in the 17-game campaign. That’s a decent division-contending season, but it isn’t the type of leveling up we were hoping for from a team some believe will be the biggest threat to the Chiefs this season.

As for the worst-case? Well … we could see it.

Pro Football Focus’ worst-case scenario for the Colts is possible.

As the projection system sees it:

"10th percentile outcome: 6-11How they get there: The change of scenery doesn’t do Carson Wentz any good. He once again resembles the quarterback we saw in 2020 — the one who led the NFL in turnover-worthy plays (24) and ranked last in the league in accurate-pass rate (46.8%).A young edge defender rotation cannot replace the production from Justin Houston and Denico Autry, either. That gives opposing quarterbacks more time to find receivers working against Xavier Rhodes and Rock Ya-Sin, with the latter coming off a 48.2 coverage grade in 2020."

Naturally, atop the list? “Carson Wentz is simply bad now,” which is a thought we can’t escape until it’s proven false. Wentz has plenty of tick marks in his column. He’ll be reunited with Frank Reich. He’ll be protected better by a league-best offensive line. Say what you will about them, but Michael Pittman Jr. and TY Hilton are better than Travis Fulgham and ???, Wentz’s leading wideouts with the Eagles.

Of course, his relationship with everyone in Philadelphia corroded. Part of it was personality friction, and part of it was a talent deficiency. If he doesn’t rebound — and rebound significantly — then this season will likely be a wash.

Add in the defensive line changes, and it’s not hard to envision a Colts season that just doesn’t work. If Kwity Paye doesn’t replicate Justin Houston and Denico Autry’s disruption and Rock Ya-Sin continues to get burned, then this team will not compete with the AFC’s beasts.

We wish the worst-case scenario weren’t coming through so clearly, but we see it.