Earlier this week I laid out some rational ideas about what Colts fans should expect for this season based on historical teams in similar situations including the 1998 and 1999 Colts, as well as some stasticial measures. Statistics, history and rationality are not always fun however, so let’s approach this in a different manner. In fact, let’s do this exercise without looking at any statistics, game information or any other item that has a basis in this “reality” thing with which everyone seems so enamored.
In 2011 the Colts were horrible. We can all agree that it was the most painful season since Peyton Manning’s arrival. Even in 1998 we saw glimmers of hope and had reason to believe things would soon change. Nothing during that timeframe even compared to the 2011 campaign. It was for all intents and purposes the nightmare come true. It was nothing short of horrific.
Yet somehow the Colts managed to hang around many games until the end. In my mind (and without looking at the actual game logs) they were much more competitive than 2-14. As I recall they had a chance to basically beat everyone except a few teams. They even had a shot against the Patriots. I can’t remember specifically which games were blowouts but it didn’t seem like many. Then again I’ve already started to forget which quarterback started which game but let’s not let facts get in the way–they were competitive to me and that’s what counts here.
Second, new head coach Chuck Pagano is bound to improve a defense that was essentially in the cellar all year. Heck, he couldn’t be any worse right? We all know the 3-4 dominates the league now. It does right? Anyway, the defense still has Freeney and Mathis and a new attacking scheme so even a moderate improvement is going to take a few of those close games in 2011 and turn them magically into wins in 2012. Chalk it up baby! We’re on a roll now.
We also know the Colts have brought back Bruce Arians who turned a quarterback who was more intent on finding his next girlfriend/wife/victim and/or a donut than playing in the NFL into a deep threat. Bruce Arians was stellar with both Peyton Manning and Ben Roethlisberger so that is going to rub off on Andrew Luck, the single most NFL-ready rookie to ever pop a pimple. Heck, this kid may put up the most amazing season in rookie NFL history with that kind of tutelage.
Let’s irrationally look at the schedule and pick our wins:
Week 1 (9/9): at Chicago Bears
WIN! Come on…this is easy. The Bears still suck right? Jay Cutler certainly sucks. And their starting corners may be Kelvin Hayden and Tim Jennings.
Week 2 (9/16): vs. Minnesota Vikings
WIN! They suck so hard no one wanted to give them a new stadium. The state nearly offered them up for trade to California for a couple of In-n-Out burgers.
Week 3 (9/23): vs. Jacksonville Jaguars
WIN! Donald Brown runs for 375 yards and Mike Mularkey is bound to help out with timeouts.
Week 4: Bye Week
LOSE! No one beats the bye but if they could they would.
Week 5 (10/7): Green Bay Packers
LOSE! The bye week causes some rust and the Packers pull out a squeaker. Thank heavens Aaron Rodgers has a defense to rely upon.
Week 6 (10/14): at New York Jets
WIN! Andrew Luck > Tim Tebow + Mark Sanchez.
Week 7 (10/21): vs. Cleveland Browns
WIN! Colt McCoy’s dad was right–the Browns are clueless.
Week 8 (10/28): at Tennessee Titans
WIN! Really? You doubt this?
Week 9 (11/4): vs. Miami Dolphins
WIN! It’s a real shock Miami still has a team. Their defense is decent and their offense has been MIA since Marino retired.
Week 10 (11/8): at Jacksonville Jaguars
WIN! I believe the Jaguars have a contractual obligation to lose to the Colts.
Week 11 (11/18): at New England Patriots
LOSE! And thus begins the great Brady vs. Luck debate.
Week 12 (11/25): vs. Buffalo Bills
WIN! Buffalo is cold in November. Buffalo is also a bad football team in most years. I don’t know much about their roster at this point but I’m fairly certain they don’t have a quarterback named “Luck.”
Week 13 (12/2): at Detroit Lions
WIN! Matthew Stafford is good and this is a team on the rise. Still, they’re the Lions. Right?
Week 14 (12/9): vs. Tennessee Titans
LOSE! They’ve historically split and some kicker will nail a 70 yarder at the clock. It always happens.
Week 15 (12/16): at Houston Texans
LOSE! Can’t win them all and we prefer revenge.
Week 16 (12/23): at Kansas City Chiefs
WIN! I predict a major meltdown from Romeo Crennel at some point in the season. He follows a long line of failures like Denny Green, Herm Edwards and Todd Haley. It’s going to happen.
Week 17 (12/30): vs. Houston Texans
WIN! To finish 12-4 the Colts will decimate the Texans forcing Bob McNair to unexpectedly give Gary Kubiak an undeserved contract extension. Makes sense to me!
There you have it folks…a completely irrational view of next year. Let’s hope it happens.