Indianapolis Colts NFL Season Preview: Will Philip Rivers be the difference in Indy?

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Blaine Spencer previews the Indianapolis Colts’ upcoming NFL season by taking a look at their recent additions and current roster situation. Can they reach the Super Bowl…?

One year removed from the sudden retirement of quarterback Andrew Luck, the Colts have gone to a win-now approach with the signing of Philip Rivers to hopefully be an upgrade at the position to replace Jacoby Brissett.

The Colts are coming off of missing the playoffs for the fourth time in five years and made changes at key positions with the addition of Rivers as well as the eyebrow raising trade for All-Pro defensive tackle in DeForest Buckner from San Francisco.

Can the relationship between Head Coach Frank Reich and Rivers from their days with the San Diego Chargers (now Los Angeles Chargers) be able to spark a run at an AFC South Crown that is considerably wide-open?

Offense

Rivers joins an offense that prided themselves on running the ball by finishing seventh in rushing. The team arguably has the best offensive line in football behind All-Pro Quentin Nelson and the Colts will be returning everyone which should relieve some pressure from Rivers who was behind a struggling offensive line for the Los Angeles Chargers.

The Colts went offense in the draft as well by drafting a bruiser of a running back in Jonathan Taylor from Wisconsin to compliment Marlon Mack and getting a physical wide-receiver in Michael Pittman Jr. out of USC to bring a physical presence on the outside for Rivers. The offense looks solid with the healthy return of T.Y. Hilton, and Paris Campbell with the addition of Trey Burton to boost the tools Rivers can use.

The real question on offense was kicking by how the team missed 15 kicks and league-high six extra points that played a significant role in losing close games.

Defense

All-Pro Darius Leonard is more excited than ever with the addition of Buckner to help promote the triangle for their 4-3 defensive scheme. The playmakers of Buckner, Leonard and the return of nickel cornerback Kenny Moore II from injury to help bring back the defense from the first half of last season where Indy went 5-2.

This addition of Buckner will help out defensive Justin Houston, who led the team in sacks with 11. Houston will now have to go through as many double teams with Buckner who will probably attract more of the double teams on the defensive line.

Lastly, the team added veteran corner Xavier Rhodes to lead a young secondary. Rhodes has been extremely inconsistent the past couple seasons in Minnesota. Fortunately, the Colts play a majority of zone instead of man-to-man which should help Rhodes immensely.

The added depth will allow the Colts to play zone and only rush four which creates the opportunity for the Colts to play fundamentally sound defense and make it difficult on opposing offenses.

Overview

The Colts head into the upcoming season with major playoff aspirations with these major additions at the key positions on both sides of the ball. The AFC South is wide-open with Houston, Tennessee, and Indianapolis all having the opportunity to win the division.

The team is known for being one of the best all-around teams in the league so can they finally take that next step and make a run. The odds for the Colts to win the Super Bowl in the 2020-21 season is +2200 according to DraftKings Sportsbook.

The relationship between Rivers and Reich will be crucial and fans are hopeful that Rivers has enough in the tank to help the Colts be playoff-bound.

Prediction: 10-6, AFC Wild Card Berth

The Colts have a favorable early schedule in the first eight weeks of the season with only one opponent that had a winning record in 2019 should translate to another fast start like last season. The question will be the same as last season which will be can they hold on over the last eight weeks of the season.

I think it will come down to the last week of the season for the division and the Colts will be right there for a chance. I believe they will end up coming just short of the division but with a solid record and an extra playoff spot up for grabs. The Colts should be able to get into the playoffs and have a chance to make a playoff run. The question will be: Will they have enough to get over Baltimore and Kansas City in the AFC?

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