With a new optimism surrounding the team, can the Indianapolis Colts still become title contenders this season after their slow start?
In Week 9, the Indianapolis Colts suffered a disheartening loss to the New England Patriots. It was Indy’s third straight loss and Frank Reich was fired the next day. It seemed like Indy’s season was over, regardless of how many games were left on the schedule, and fans began turning their attention to draft prospects. However, the Colts shockingly hired Jeff Saturday as interim head coach, and even more shocking, Saturday led Indianapolis to a victory in his first game in Week 10.
Now, there’s a sense of optimism surrounding the Colts, even if it is a bit premature (it was just the 2-7 Las Vegas Raiders). While the Saturday-led Colts will have tougher challenges moving forward, starting with the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday, there’s no shame in fans believing Indy can turn the season around and make a run. Soon, everyone will find out if this is really a competitive team or if there’s just a lot of false hope going around.
Can the Colts even realistically make the playoffs? Entering Week 11, no team is officially eliminated yet, but Indy is really still right in the mix. At 4-5-1, Indianapolis is currently No. 10 in the AFC, three spots out of the playoffs. The three teams directly in front of Indy are all 5-4, showing that a playoff push is well within reach.
Alex Kay of Bleacher Report put the Colts in a group with four other teams, calling them “fringe playoff contenders with the most on the line this coming week.” Kay argues that a win on Sunday against the Eagles will officially put Indy’s name back in the mix and “could serve as a springboard for a playoff run.”
Colts could still make a run at the playoffs
By all means, Indianapolis is very much in the race. Despite all that’s happened this season and all of the uninspiring football that has been played, all of Indy’s goals are right in front of them and are reasonably attainable. They don’t have to rip off seven straight wins and win out, though that would be fun, Indy will probably need to win at least five more games of its remaining seven.
The biggest factor that will determine if the Colts really make a run or not is which team shows up to play on game day. If Indy plays as they did against the New England Patriots, with bad offensive line play and not protecting the football, the playoffs can be kissed goodbye. But, if Indianapolis can play with the level of execution it had against the Raiders, against more quality opponents, Indy’s playoff hopes are alive and well.