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
3 of 3

1. Being a good defense in general

Stopping the run is important, but so is limiting other teams’ scoring in general. A good defense is necessary to win in the NFL, unless you have a nuclear offense. Even then, sometimes the best offenses can’t overcome incompetent defenses.

In 2023, the Colts struggled defensively. They got sacks and took the ball away, but that’s about it. Indy allowed 24.4 points a game— 28th most in the NFL. With an underwhelming run defense and an even worse passing defense, it’s understandable why people were calling for defensive coordinator Gus Bradley’s job.

The four teams left have some of the best overall defenses in the NFL. The Ravens allow the least amount of points, giving up just 16.5 points a game. The Chiefs are right behind them, allowing only 17.3. San Francisco is third, holding opponents to 17.5 points a game. It’s not a coincidence that the three-best scoring defenses are still playing. The fourth-best was the Buffalo Bills and they’re out because they lost to the Chiefs.

The one outlier is the Detroit Lions. They allow 23.2 points a game, which is 23rd in the NFL. They’ve been able to survive because they have one of the most explosive offenses in the NFL, averaging 27.1 points a game, fifth-most in the league.

The Colts will have to improve their offense and defense if they’re going to be playing at this time next season.