It has been 84 weeks since the last post here at Ink on Indy. It has also probably been 84 weeks since the Colts have had playoff hopes.
The Colts (2-5) looked like they had no business in the playoff conversation after a loss to Sam Darnold and the New York Jets in week 6, falling to 1-5. But after a big win against the Buffalo Bills, and a not-great few weeks from the AFC South leaders, the Colts can be right back into the conversation if Luck falls their way this year.
The early consensus was that the Jacksonville Jaguars would run away with the division after missing the Super Bowl by one defensive stop last season. The Houston Texans and Tennessee Titans seemed like the two teams that would vie for second place, and possibly a wildcard playoff spot. The Colts seemed like the odd man out – the loser of the group.
Through week seven, here is what the AFC South looks like:
- Houston Texans (5-3)
- Tennessee Titans (3-4)
- Jacksonville Jaguars (3-4)
- Indianapolis Colts (2-5)
Peaking at the right time
Andrew Luck and the Colts offense looked like they were back in a big way last week against the Bills. Luck threw for four touchdowns, but he really did not need to. Marlon Mack, the second year back out of USF, played absurd.
He rushed 19 times for 126 yards, which is good for a 6.6 yards per rush. He scored once on the ground and caught another score. (Remind me to add him to my fantasy team.)
T.Y. Hilton found the end zone twice in his first game back from injury. (He is already on my fantasy team.)
The offensive line deserves a lot of the credit though, specifically rookie guard Quenton Nelson. Nelson is a mauler on the offensive line with ridiculous athleticism for his size. Whether he is pulling and lighting up a defensive tackle or just pushing open a hole in down block, he has been the difference maker on offense.
Frank Reich looks like he has found his offense.
Young exciting defense
Darius Leonard has been the brightest of bright spots on a young defense. This season, Leonard looks like the best rookie linebacker – even though four were taken before him. Leonard has found his niche at weakside linebacker and has wreaked havoc ever since.
Leonard has been a turnover machine and is all over the field to make tackles. Leonard recorded NINETEEN tackles in one game against the Washington Redskins, if that says anything about the rookie linebacker.
Mike Mitchell, former Pittsburgh Steeler, has been impressive in his stint with the team. After only been signed for a few weeks, he has been a play maker at safety. Mitchell won AFC defensive player of the week last week when he recorded an interception, a forced fumble and seven tackles against the Buffalo Bills.
What is next?
The Colts have four very winnable games coming up on their schedule, including a road trip to Oakland on Sunday. The Raiders are possibly the worst team in the NFL. Follow that with three straight home games against three very beatable teams, including two divisional teams, and the Colts could be above .500 and ready to challenge Houston for the division lead.
However, be very aware of the Houston Texans. They have won five straight after starting out 0-3.