The Indianapolis Colts have recently improved their roster through the draft, but their AFC South foes have also gotten exceptionally better throughout the offseason as well.
The Indianapolis Colts finished the 2015 season with eight total wins and missed out on both a division championship and playoff berth thanks to the Houston Texan’s week 15 victory over the Colts that crowned the Texans as the winners of the AFC South, earning them a spot in the playoffs.
Prior to 2015, the Colts had dominated the division. They had won 16-straight games versus teams in the AFC South and had been divisional champions for two-straight years.
That was back when times were simpler for the Colts. Now, they watch cautiously as the Jacksonville Jaguars, Houston Texans and Tennessee Titans greatly improve their rosters through free agency and the draft.
More from Ink on Indy
- Still Searching for Their Groove, Pacers Take on Struggling Magic Thursday Night
- Pacers Travel to the Nation’s Capital to Begin Four Game Road Trip
- Update on Pacers’ Oladipo’s Serious Leg Injury
- Has Romeo Langford Been a Disappointment for the Hoosiers?
- The Indianapolis Colts Have a Brutal Road Schedule in 2019
A little overview of the three teams’ offseason additions thus far:
The two offseason additions that stick out the most for the Texans are the free agency additions of both Brock Osweiler and Lamar Miller. With the Denver Broncos last season, Osweiler showed flashes of promise and can be said to have been a major part for the Broncos earning the 1st seed in the AFC and ultimately a Super Bowl appearance.
Miller provides the team’s backfield with a versatile and quick threat in the running game. Miller averaged 4.5 yards-per-carry with the Dolphins last season and was a reliable piece to Miami’s offense in 2015.
Through the draft, the Texans added a speedy wide receiver in Will Fuller out of Notre Dame in the first round to help accompany DeAndre Hopkins in the passing games. The Texan’s offense could give opposing teams problems if they can all mesh well together.
The Titans are another team that could really give the Colts a run for their money in 2016. With the free agency addition of DeMarco Murray, the Titans have a running back that can bounce back from a disappointing 2015 campaign if he’s properly utilized.
The team also drafted offensive tackle Jack Conklin in the first round, and running back Derrick Henry in the second round. The addition of Henry gives the Titans a one-two punch in the backfield with him and Murray sharing touches.
The Titans also have a young quarterback in Marcus Mariota. Through 12 games last season, Mariota threw for over 2,800 yards with 19 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. While these aren’t the flashiest of numbers, the second-year quarterback also didn’t have a reliable running game to help to open up the passing game for the Titans, which he very well could now have with Murray and Henry in the backfield.
Out of all three of the Colt’s division rivals, the Jaguars could be the most-improved team. They used their first round pick on cornerback Jalen Ramsey, whom was one of the top prospects coming into the draft. They then proceeded to draft linebacker Myles Jack in the second round. Jack saw his draft stock slip due to injury, but if he returns to his form then he could very well be one of the biggest steals of this year’s draft.
That, and the fact that the Jaguars will have pass-rusher Dante Fowler — the third-overall pick in the 2015 Draft — returning from an injury that kept him sidelined for the entirety of 2015 could pose as a big problem for the Colts.
The Jaguars also signed running back Chris Ivory at the start of free agency. Quarterback Blake Bortles has also steadily progressed since entering the league in 2014, and both Allen Hurns and Allen Robinson will look to have 1,000-yard receiving seasons again in 2016.
With all of the factors described above, it goes without saying that the Colts more than likely won’t be enjoying those blowouts against either of these teams as they have in the past.
If the Colts will want to regain their AFC South dominance, then Luck and the rest of the team will need to be prepared. Too many times have the Colts started off slow in games and then have to dig themselves out of a massive hole.
The Colts look to bounce back in 2016 with a playoff appearance, but it certainly won’t come easy this time around.