3 things that separates the four teams playing on Championship Sunday from the Colts

The Indianapolis Colts hope to be playing on championship Sunday next season. Here are some things the team must improve for that to happen.
Indianapolis Colts v Baltimore Ravens
Indianapolis Colts v Baltimore Ravens / Rob Carr/GettyImages
1 of 3

The season ended for the Indianapolis Colts in Week 18, when the regular season concluded. However, the elite teams are still playing football. On Sunday, the Baltimore Ravens will host the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC Championship and the San Francisco 49ers will host the Detroit Lions for the NFC Championship.

The winners, of course, will meet in the Super Bowl. That’s where all teams are trying to reach. The Indianapolis Colts haven’t been since losing to the New Orleans Saints in the Super Bowl for the 2009 season, and the last time Indy won a Super Bowl was in 2007, defeating the Chicago Bears in the Super Bowl for the 2006 season.

While the Colts haven’t made the playoffs in a few years, there is optimism that this new era of Shane Steichen and Anthony Richardson can help Indy get back to the big game. In order for that to happen, Indianapolis needs to improve in some major areas. Let’s take a look at some traits that the teams competing on Sunday have, that the Colts need to develop.

3. Third-down effenciency

Indianapolis was horrible on third down this season. It’s kind of fitting that the team’s playoff hopes came down to a 4th-down attempt, because the offense was unable to convert a critical third down. The Colts finished the year converting just 35.34% of third downs. That’s 26th in the NFL. A team probably isn’t going far with numbers like that.

The teams that are competing on championship Sunday were some of the best in the league on third down. The 49ers had the fourth-best conversion percentage with 47.49. The Chiefs finished the regular season with a 43.64 conversion percentage, good for sixth-best in the league. Baltimore ranked at No. 9 with 42.03% and the Lions were just outside the top 10 at No. 11, with 41.52%.

Simply put, you have to be able to convert on third downs to get far in this league.