Can Gardner Minshew actually lead the Colts on a playoff run?

With Gardner Minshew as the starting quarterback for the Indianapolis Colts, can Indy actually make the playoffs and make noise in the postseason?
Indianapolis Colts v Cincinnati Bengals
Indianapolis Colts v Cincinnati Bengals / Dylan Buell/GettyImages

After rookie quarterback Anthony Richardson went down with a season-ending shoulder injury in Week 5, backup quarterback Gardner Minshew took over for the Indianapolis Colts. Minshew’s performance has had a ton of ups and downs, but ultimately, the Colts are 7-6 heading into Week 15 and they have a chance to make the playoffs.

Making the playoffs to compete for a Super Bowl is always the goal. Considering the remaining four games on Indy’s schedule, Indianapolis has a pretty good chance to be in the postseason. The real question, though, is can the Colts actually make a run in the playoffs with their backup quarterback.

Alex Ballentine answered that in a recent piece for Bleacher Report. Since so many teams have lost their starting quarterbacks to injuries this season, Ballentine ranked the five backup quarterbacks that could actually lead a team on a playoff run. Minshew did make the list and he is ranked at No. 3.

Will Gardner Minshew step up for Colts in playoffs?

Ballentine praised Minshew for some of the magic that he has brought throughout the season enroute to Indy’s 7-6 record. However, there was a sense of concern about Minshew providing magic against top teams in the league, with Ballentine arguing, “In order to orchestrate a playoff run, a backup QB needs to be able to rise up and lead the offense against the NFL's best teams. Minshew just hasn't been that guy.” That’s why Minshew was ultimately ranked lower than Jake Browning and Joe Flacco.

If the Colts are playing how they are supposed to play they shouldn’t need Minshew to do too much in order to win. Indianapolis has a great run game, solid weapons on the outside, and a defense that has improved in recent weeks and shown the ability to get after the passer. The biggest thing that Gardner Minshew will have to do is protect the ball. If Minshew can do that, Indy has a chance in every game.