Monday, October 12, 2009
It's Week 5 and the Colts Have Wrapped Up the AFC South
Before the season there were a lot of questions about the Indianapolis Colts. Could they rebound from losing future Hall of Fame receiver Marvin Harrison? How would they perform without Tony Dungy? Will a new defensive coordinator disrupt the good things the Colts D had going for them? Is it finally time for the Jaguars, Titans, and Texans to surpass the Colts?
Five weeks into the regular season, all of the questions have been answered.
Marvin Harrison, though talented, was a great receiver in the NFL thanks in large part to having Peyton Manning as his Quarterback. Sometimes in football a QB's weapons make him look better than he really is; Other times a Quarterback makes his weapons look better than they are. Thanks in large part to the explosive play thus far from D-3 WR Pierre Garcon, and BYU Rookie Austin Collie, Peyton has proven that not only can he do just fine in "Life After Marvin," he's probably better off. Most insiders were under the impression that Marvin has been on the decline since the Super Bowl run anyway.
Tony Dungy is in my opinion a Hall of Fame head coach. He commands respect, wins games, and has a calm demeanor that is extremely powerful in an NFL locker room. I don't think any other head coach would have been able to keep their team as calm and composed as Dungy kept the Colts in the 2006 AFC Championship game, where the team pulled off, perhaps the greatest comeback in NFL history.
That being said, the Colts are off to the same old Colts start that we had come to expect from 05-07. Also, don't forget that Dungy's job was on the line heading into the 06 playoffs, and he was considered a coach incapable of "winning the big one." I'm not trying to attack Tony Dungy here, but let's not forget what happened in Tampa the year after he was replaced. (If you need a refresher read the post below this one.)
As for the Colts defense? Well, after 2008 I think it was obvious that the team needed a change there. Outside of Week 2 in Miami (in weather that was similar to that of a Tropical Rain forest), the Colts defense has look adequate, playing without Marlin Jackson, Gary Brackett, Kelvin Hayden, oh and a certain injury prone Safety known as Bob Sanders. Simply put, the Colts D is the Colts D; though it has it's problems, it's good enough to win a championship.
As for the rest of the division? Through Week 5 their combined record in 4-11. They've pretty much handed the Colts the division. The Titans look confused, the Jaguars are lost, and the Texans are the same old Texans we've always known.
The Colts now control their AFC seeding. They can start focusing on getting that first round bye. This season they will host New England, New York Jets, and Denver in Indianapolis. The Colts also go to Baltimore, but Peyton has had lots of success there since 2002.
Anything less than a first round bye will be disappointing for this Indianapolis Colts team. But with Peyton gunning for his 4th MVP award, and the team positioning itself for Home Field Advantage for the first time since 2005, it's safe to say that the Colts will stay focused. Jim Caldwell has this team looking as focused as they've ever looked.
I predict at worst a 13-3 season, fully equipped with a first round bye, and home field throughout.