Indianapolis Colts 2012 Predictions

My Outlook

For the first time in years I have been excited about the pre-season and I'm am overly amped up about the regular season. As a long time fan who sat through many bad teams from 1986-1998, I got rather complacent after the Colts won the Superbowl in 2008. 

Their was nothing to fear. Peyton would find a way to win between nine and thirteen games a year with a playoff run. No big reason to get worried about the regular season.

As we all know, that changed last year. The reset button was hit. The franchise went into complete overhaul. And while I will never get used to seeing Peyton Manning in a Bronco's jersey, letting him go was necessary. If the pre-season is any indication then there will be a lot to be excited about this year. 

Andrew Luck is the real deal. While I'm not going to pencil him down as one of the all time greats (yet) the team will be in good hands for years to come. The teams has some weapons and they have still holes which need to be addressed and both sides of the ball are still learning the philosophies. The team will learn and hopefully grow as the season progresses. 

And let's be honest, their schedule has several winnable games. This is how I see it playing out.

This franchise has put its success on the shoulders of a top tier quarterback for a number of years now. This time around it's not any different.

 The Season

Week 1 (9/9): at Chicago Bears
"Da Bears" look to have another solid team that will be in the hunt for the playoffs and possibly even the Championship. Their offense will put up some points. Playing at Soldier Field will be a test for a young Colt's team still coming together. I look for the Luck to lead a couple of scoring drives while under pressure all day long and not much help from a running game (sound familiar fans). In the end, Chicago is far too superior of a team and shows it in an easy win.
Record:  (0-1)

Week 2 (9/16): vs. Minnesota Vikings
The two keys in this game will be stopping Adrian Peterson, if he's back, and keeping Jared Allen from creaming Luck. I see these two teams being at about the same talent level. But it's the Colts home opener and I have a feeling they will be pumped which leads them to victory.
 Record: (1-1)

 Week 3 (9/23): vs. Jacksonville Jaguars
Much like the Colts, the Jags are trying to find their new identity. If Maurice Jones-Drew is back in uniform then this becomes a much closer game. If he's not then it will still be a tough, physical game. It's just how these two usually play. But the Colts walk away with their second win. 
Record: (2-1)

Week 4: Bye Week
Time to regroup and get an extra week of practice in preparation for the mighty Pack!
Week 5 (10/7): vs. Green Bay Packers
It would take a miracle game of perfection for Indy to win against the Packers. I simply dont think the defense can stop Aaron Rogers from carving it up. Luck may have a decent game but it will be largely because of playing catch up. Green Bay wins easily.
Record: (2-2)

Week 6 (10/14): at New York Jets
Playing on the road in New York is never an easy task. The Jets have proved to me one thing this pre-season - they aren't a good team. They have an outstanding defense and a very suspect offense. 
This is a tough call but I say the Colts pull out a win.
Record: (3-2)

Week 7 (10/21): vs. Cleveland Browns
The Colts once again face a young team trying to find their identity. In this game Luck wins the battle of rookie QB's. The Browns simply just don't have the guns yet.
Record: (4-2)

Week 8 (10/28): at Tennessee Titans
An important division game against an old rivalry with a new look. The Titans are in the category as Indy, a young team with new coaches and philosophy. These teams always play hard against each other. But I think the Colts are riding a bit of momentum at this point in the year. They head into Nashville and pull out a tough game. And that my friends, is what we like to call a winning streak.
Record: (5-2)

Week 9 (11/4): vs. Miami Dolphins
Another week against another young team searching for an identity due to new personnel. It's a common theme in the first half of the season. Miami hasn't done much to impress me in the pre-season. Well except trading Vonte Davis to the Colts. Today he makes the Dolphins wish they didn't and leads the Colt defense to its best performance of the season and the Colts to it's fourth straight win.
Record: (6-2)

Week 10 (11/8): at Jacksonville Jaguars
The second meeting with the Jags plays out a bit different.This team shows its youth and maybe slight cockiness of a win streak. MDJ is back, or traded by now, and the Blaine Gabbert to Justin Blackmon connection is in full force. The Colts make too many mistakes and they lose a close down in Florida.
Record: (6-3)

Week 11 (11/18): at New England Patriots
The Colts looks bad going to New England. At least in the first half. They gains some composure to make it slightly interesting but the hole is too deep to climb out. Chalk this one up as a loss and a learning experience. Damn I hate the Patriots.
Record: (6-4)

Week 12 (11/25): vs. Buffalo Bills
I just have the feeling Buffalo turns some heads again this year. They have a potentially high power offense and stellar defense too. Indy makes it competitive and gets back on track. Unfortunately they still lose the game.
Record: (6-5)

Week 13 (12/2): at Detroit Lions
This has all the makings of a classic shoot out. And that is exactly what it is, a high scoring affair. The Lion offense looks unstoppable today but the rookie Luck impresses today as well for a huge game too. When the smoke clears though, Indy suffers their fourth loss in a row.
Record: (6-6)

Week 14 (12/9): vs. Tennessee Titans
The second meeting against the Titans plays out a lot like the first. The defense keeps Chris Johnson in check for most of the game and the offense scores plenty. The team gets back in the winning ways today.
Record: (7-6)

Week 15 (12/16): at Houston Texans
Indy goes to Houston to play the new darlings of the division. I admit, when healthy the Texans is a good team and right now they are healthy and gearing up for the playoffs. Indy puts forth a good effort but it isn't enough to get the victory.

Week 16 (12/23): at Kansas City Chiefs
I think the Chiefs will be a pretty good team this year. At this point in the season they will be fighting for their division or a wild card spot or both. And guess what, Indy is in the hunt for a wild card too. But Arrowhead is a damn tough place to play. Today the team cant over come the odds and basically eliminate themselves from the playoffs.
Record: (7-8)

Week 17 (12/30): vs. Houston Texans
This will be an important game. Indy will want to close out the season with a win putting the team at .500 for the season. The Texans will be playing for playoff position and possibly even a bye week. This game is fought hard and goes down to the wire. The Colts dont win the game but prove they are not a push over and a team to watch out for in 2013.
Record: (7-9)

In the end: 

I honestly believe this team can finish up around the 8-8 mark. Maybe blind optimism is clouding my judgment. This is a better team than last year and any where from six to nine wins is extremely realistic. It depends on two big factors: the offensive line and the entire defense. 

Can the line protect Luck and more importantly block well enough to make the running game relevant? It hasn't been in a number of years.

Can the defense adjust to the new 3-4 hybrid style defense and does this team have the right type of players to make this scheme work over the season? Right now I think they have certain pieces to make it work but not an entire group. But that doesn't mean the players they have cant adjust and make a statement.

Regardless, it's going to be an exciting season of Indianapolis Colt football. I will be eager to watch it unfold.

2012 Motto "Build the Monster"

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