Colts now have to battle expectations during the final stretch of the regular season

The Indianapolis Colts control their playoff destiny for the 2023 season, giving them expectations that they didn’t have when entering the year.
Indianapolis Colts v New England Patriots
Indianapolis Colts v New England Patriots / Alex Grimm/GettyImages

Coming into the 2023 season, expectation we’re extremely low for the Indianapolis Colts. Coming off a 4-12-1 season that resulted in having the fourth-overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, a lot of people expected that Indy would be in a similar spot at the end of this season. Not to mention, the Colts entered the year with a rookie head coach and a rookie starting quarterback.

Now, as the team prepares for a Week 14 matchup against the Cincinnati Bengals, Indianapolis has blew through those low expectations. The Colts enter Week 14 at 7-5, on a four-game win streak, and are currently in possession of a playoff spot. With five games remaining in the regular season, Indy holds its destiny in its hands.

As the Colts work to punch their tickets to the playoffs, they’ll battle another opponent that wasn’t on the schedule when the season started: expectations.

Colts must finish the season strong

Fans and media members have been looking at Indy’s final five games and saying that Indianapolis should be able to take care of business and lock up a playoff spot. To conclude the regular season, Indy plays the Bengals, Pittsburgh Steelers, Atlanta Falcons, Las Vegas Raiders, and the Houston Texans. Of those teams, only two have a winning record: Pittsburgh and Houston. Indy already beat the Texans once this season and anyone who's watched a single Steelers game would understand why their winning record means nothing.

People are expecting the Colts to win at least three of these games, if not all. There’s certainly a great deal of hope around Indianapolis. But, you know what they say about hope. It breeds eternal misery. It’s a dangerous thing that can drive a man insane. Whatever quote you want to use, expectations provide room for massive disappointment.

The Colts and their fans know this all too well. Just two years ago, when Indianapolis was the hottest team in the league during the 2021 season, they seemed like a lock for the postseason with a couple of games remaining. Unfortunately, a massive collapse led to Indy missing the playoffs and a lot of embarrassment in Indianapolis.

Let’s hope that’s not the case this season. Shane Steichen has the Colts in a great spot and they have proven to be a resilient team that can overcome obstacles. Indy should also be able to overcome the pressure of expectations in the final five games of the regular season.