Aug 23, 2014; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck (12) passes the ball during the first quarter against the New Orleans Saints at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Pat Lovell-USA TODAY Sports

Indianapolis Colts 2014 Season Outlook

Week 1 at Denver Broncos

The Colts start the season on the road in primetime against Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos. Last year the Colts and Broncos played, and Peyton had his homecoming to the stadium he helped build. It was a special night were the fans got to show Peyton their appreciation, and once the game started got to see the Colts get a huge win. I don’t see that happening again this season.

My main reason to think that the Colts don’t win this game is the lack of pressure they will be able to produce rushing four people without Robert Mathis. I expect Pagano and Manusky to try and dial up clever blitzes, but as many Colts fans know Peyton Manning likes it when you blitz.

Denver’s defense should be a good first test for Andrew Luck and the offense. With the addition of Talib, Ware, and Ward the Broncos should feature a better defense than last season. The Colts should put up points, but ultimately will be unable to keep up with the Broncos high scoring offense.

Week 2 vs. Philadelphia Eagles

Week 2 will again have the Colts facing another high scoring, high tempo offense, and I believe that they will once again fall short of winning. The Eagles feature a very potent offense due to coach Chip Kelly, and a more than competent Nick Foles. However their defense is not expected to be as good as the Broncos, which should lead to the Colts keeping this game close.

I expect the pass rush to still be an issue for the Colts until Robert Mathis returns from his four-game suspension, but I do see the Colts having more success against the Eagles utilizing blitzes. This should be a close game, and one that has potential to end in another Andrew Luck comeback.

Week 3 at Jacksonville Jaguars

After 2 weeks in the national spotlight the Colts will travel to Jacksonville to play the Jaguars, in their newly redone stadium. The Jaguars are on the right path to becoming a legit force in the AFC South under head coach Gus Bradley. They may end up being the Colts biggest obstacle to constantly winning the AFC South in the next few years, but they shouldn’t be too hard of a challenge this year as I see the Colts picking up their 2nd (if they can beat the Eagles) win of the season.

Week 4 vs. Tennessee Titans

The Colts should pick up their 3rd win of the season at home against the Titans. While the Titans have talented players on their team, they are still one of the worst teams on paper this season. The Colts are lucky to get to play the Titans twice this season, as it should help boost their record.

Week 5 vs. Baltimore Ravens

After four weeks of missing their top defensive player the Colts will be welcoming back Robert Mathis as they take on the Ravens.  The Ravens won the super bowl 2 seasons ago, but failed to make it back to the playoffs last year.  In the draft this year the Ravens used their first three picks on defense drafting  linebacker C.J Mosley,  defensive lineman Timmy Jernigan, and the safety many Colts fans wanted in Terrence Brooks. With these new addition the Ravens should feature a very good defense this year, and I see them sneaking out a win against the Colts.

Arthur Jones will be going up against his old team and expect him to work extra hard trying to get a sack on quarterback Joe Flacco. The Ravens like to run the ball, and this will be a good game to gauge how much the Colts run defense has improved.

Week 6 at Houston Texans

The Colts finish their first round of games against the AFC South facing the Houston Texans. Last year the Texans had super bowl aspirations, but after the team spiraled out of control they ended up selecting Jadeveon Clowney with the first overall pick in this past years draft. Luckily Ryan Fitzpatrick should be their quarterback, and the Colts should be able to win this game.

The Colts interior offensive line has been an issue since Andrew Luck became quarterback. Houston happens to have the greatest defensive lineman (and possibly player) in the NFL with J.J. Watt. This game should be a great test to see how far along the guys on the offensive line have come having to face Clowney and Watt.

Week 7 vs. Cincinnati Bengals

The Bengals were able to pick up a win last year against the Colts, thanks in part to a horrible touchdown call by referee Jeff Triplette. I don’t see the same results happening this time, as the Colts should pick up their fourth win of the season. The Bengals should have one of the better defenses in the league, and have some very talented players on offense. However, Andy Dalton has been unable to elevate his game, which has held the Bengals back from becoming one of the best teams in the NFL.

This should be a close game that ends in another one of Andrew Lucks signature comebacks after the offense struggles to attack this Bengals defense to start the game. Sound familiar?  This should be the Colts first win against a playoff team, and one of their few matches against a team of that caliber.

Week 8 at Pittsburgh Steelers

The Colts will beat the Steelers in this game. A year after finishing 8-8 the Steelers are hoping to return to the playoffs, but I don’t expect them to be a good team next year. They simply didn’t make any major moves to improve their team this past offseason, and they aren’t the team they used to be.

While I do think the Colts should get an easy win in this matchup, we have seen this Colts team come up flat in games many expect them to win. Hopefully coming off a win against a much better Bengals team, the Colts don’t come into this game flat, and drop what should be an easy win.

Week 9 at New York Giants

Again, the Colts should get an easy win for the second week in a row. The Giants weren’t a good team last year, and in fact were even worse than their 7-9 record would indicate. A lot like the Steelers, this Giants team isn’t the team it used to be and they could struggle to be competitive again this year. The only way the Colts will lose this game is if they have one of those games when they look unprepared, and uninspired to play. Lets just hope that we don’t have to see that at all from this year’s installment of the Indianapolis Colts.

Week 11 vs New England Patriots

Let me start by saying I hate the Patriots almost as much as I love the Colts so it pains me to say that I think the Colts will come out of the bye week and drop this game. While the Colts are probably the third best team in the AFC, they are still a level below the quality of the top two teams.  The Patriots have shown to be a huge challenge to the Colts even after the regime change having won the last two meetings by a combined score of 102-46.

I think that the Colts may be able to keep this game closer than the previous meetings, but I have serious doubts about their ability to win this game. I can’t write anymore positive things about the Patriots or my brain might explode.

Week 12 vs. Jacksonville Jaguars

I expect the Colts to win this game. The only difference between this game and the one from Week 3 should be that Blake Bortles will be the Jaguars quarterback at this point.

Week 13 vs. Washington Redskins

Remember when people thought RG3 was better than Andrew Luck? Two years later and RG3 doesn’t look like the same quarterback that he was in his rookie campaign (he still wasn’t better than Luck then).  The Redskins have a lot of holes in their roster and have not done much to significantly improve their team from last years 3-13 season.

This should be another big victory for the Colts, and the first meeting between 2012’s #1 and #2 overall selections (preseason doesn’t count). The Colts should be able to take advantage of a bad Redskins’ defense, and put up a lot of points. Indianapolis has shown some issues against mobile quarterbacks in the past, but should be able to contain RG3 for the majority of the game. Did I mention that Luck is the better player?

Week 14 at Cleveland Browns

This is another game that I expect the Colts to win, but could see them having one of their “bad” weeks where the team just doesn’t seem to show up.  The Browns will not have Josh Gordon this season, but Jordan Cameron should give the Colts secondary problems. The Colts haven’t shown the ability to stop big receiving tight ends in the past. Cleveland should also have a physical defense, which could give the Colts some problems throughout the game.

By this point in the season the Browns should be playing Johnny Manziel. I honestly have no clue how Johnny Football’s style of play will translate to the pro game, but it should be fun to watch him play. Also this will be another game where the Colts will hopefully prove that they can handle mobile quarterbacks.

Week 15 vs. Texans

Another win for the Colts against a Ryan Fitzpatrick-led team. Don’t you love playing against the AFC South?

Week 16 at Dallas Cowboys

The Dallas Cowboys have a really talented quarterback in Tony Romo, one of the best tackles in football in Tyron Smith, and one of the best wide receivers in Dez Bryant. However, their defense could end up being the worst in the league, and setting the type of records that no defense wants to set.

Indianapolis should score a lot of points in this game. If the defense can cause some turnovers against the Cowboys’ offense, then Colts fans could get to see their team blow out the Cowboys.

Week 17 at Tennessee Titans

If the Colts want to win this game, then they should be able to. However, with a weak AFC South the Colts should have the division locked up at this point, and could be resting their starters for the playoffs. I love being in the AFC South.

Overview

Overall I have the Colts going 11-5 for the third straight year in a row, and winning their second AFC South crown in as many years. While the Colts are most likely the third best team in the AFC they still have a gap between them and the upper echelon teams.  The Colts could contend for a Super Bowl this season simply because Andrew Luck is their quarterback, but most likely will be bounced out of the playoffs in the divisional, or AFC championship round.  The Colts may have some very talented players, but the team has too many roster holes to truly be a favorite to win the Super Bowl.

Tags: Indianapolis Colts

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