Are the Colts legitimate Super Bowl contenders?

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Photo credit: Angie Six

Author: Joey Carr

Going into this season, many experts made their picks for who would make it to Santa Clara in February. The NFC is a toss up for most people; the Seahawks and Packers are the most popular picks, with the Cowboys and Eagles appearing sometimes, but the AFC is a different story. Prior to the season, the Indianapolis Colts were by the far the most picked team in the AFC to make it to the Super Bowl. With Andrew Luck only improving and the additions of Frank Gore and Andre Johnson, the Colts seemed like the team to beat coming out of the gate. However, after an extremely rough start to the season that has them 0-1, do the Colts have what it takes to make it all the way?

First off, the first week of the year is not by any means indicative of how the rest of the season will go. Look at the Patriots last year: starting off 2-2 with one of the worst offenses in the league didn’t look like a trip to Arizona was in the cards. But they turned it around and became Super Bowl champs a few months later. The same thing could happen to Indy this year, but for now, they should be concerned with just winning the AFC South rather than the game in Santa Clara. If their performance against the Bills on Sunday is at all telling of how their season will go, they’re in serious danger of being knocked off their throne. Andrew Luck simply didn’t look like himself against Buffalo, but maybe that dominant Bills pass rush led by Mario Williams had something to do with it. Either way, Indy will have to shore up that offensive line if they’re going to have any chance of keeping Luck on his feet long enough to make an accurate throw. Another issue going forward for the Colts will be their run game, which was pretty much nonexistent on Sunday. The offseason addition of Frank Gore was supposed to take the Colts offense to a new level, something that Trent Richardson failed to do in the previous years after being acquired from Cleveland. But alas, Gore looked slow and powerless against the Buffalo D, along with the rest of the offense. And if the loss wasn’t bad enough already, Indy will be without their star receiver T.Y. Hilton for at least a game or two, which will cause Luck to rely more on the aging Andre Johnson and second year man Donte Moncrief, a strategy that didn’t work out very well in the opener as they only managed 14 points. The defense will also need to be fixed if the Colts want any shot at taking the AFC Champion title away from New England. Some major holes on defense were exposed Sunday when Tyrod Taylor used his arm and legs to pick apart the Colts secondary. Also, the defensive line had a hard time stopping a semi-banged up LeSean McCoy, picking up right where they left off when they allowed LeGarrette Blount to run all over them in last year’s AFC Championship game against the Patriots.

As said above, Week 1 is not indicative of how the season will go for a team. We’ve seen teams time and time again start out slow and finish strong, which is what counts come January. But those teams made major adjustments to their gameplan and roster, something Chuck Pagano, head coach of Indianapolis, isn’t quite known for. So, if the Colts can overcome their week 1 loss and patch the holes that need to patched, we should see this team back in the top 3 of the AFC come playoff time.

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