Evaluating the Colts 2011 Schedule: Part 2

As if we didn't see enough commercials about this already.

As if we didn't see enough commercials about this already.

I’ll evaluate the strength and weaknesses on both teams, and write a brief description about how I think the games will turn out. Just keep in mind all of these predictions are made from pure speculation, and teams can get better or worse. Remember, The 2011 Colts were the favorites from the AFC to go to the Superbowl, until they were decimated by injuries. Anything can happen on any given Sunday. With that in mind, let’s get right into it, hopefully I won’t be TOO biased. This is part 2 out of a 5 part series.

Week 5: Indianapolis Colts vs Kansas City Chiefs @ Lucas Oil Stadium The Kansas City Chiefs surprised the league last season by taking down the Chargers, the team of destiny, and winning the AFC West. The Chiefs have the potential to become a consistent playoff team, because they have a disciplined defense and a run-heavy offense. This deadly combination has proved that it can win Superbowls, even with players like Trent Dilfer at quarterback. However, they gave Jamal Charles over 350 touches last season, and Charles isn’t the type of running back that can carry the load like that. The main reason for that is because they had no receiving targets outside of Dwayne Bowe. Which is why they acquired Jonathan Baldwin from the draft and Steve Breaston from free agency this past off-season, giving them a decent receiving corp. However, They didn’t address their offensive line. They actually made it worse by cutting All-Pro Guard, Brian Waters. Matt Cassel isn’t the type of quarterback that can put the team on his shoulders, so if the running game gets shut down or the Colts get a 2 score lead, the game should be over. On defense, they excel at bringing pressure. Manning typically doesn’t play all that well against Todd Haley’s defensive schemes, so expect the Colts to try to run the ball against them this game; especially down the gut, where they have no suitable NT to clog the running lanes. They have one of the best 3-4 defensive end combinations in the NFL, as well as one of the best secondaries. This game will depend on if the linebackers can pressure Manning, and stop the run. However, they couldn’t stop Joe Frickin Flacco during last years’ playoffs, which is why I don’t think they can stop Manning. Results: Colts 19- Chiefs 12 Overall Record: 5-0

Week 6: Indianapolis Colts vs Cincinnati Bengals @ Paul Brown Stadium The Bengals are currently in a complete rebuilding process. They traded Chad Ochocinco Johnson, and Carson Palmer will most likely retire if Mike Brown doesn’t trade him, and they’re one of the NFL’s most inconsistent franchises. Also the fact that they have a new rookie quarterback, and have no running game (they averaged 3.6 yards an attempt last season), will not help them. They have decent skill position players in Cedric Benson (RB), AJ Green and Jordan Shipley (WR) and Jermaine Gresham, so good coverage will be essential. On defense, they are more respectable, but just barely. They have decent defensive linemen and line backers, but now have a huge gap in their secondary with the loss of Johnathan Joseph. Their defensive line does decent at creating pressure, but while playing Peyton Manning, having only a ‘decent’ pass rush with a bad secondary will not yield good results.The key to this game will be to get an early lead and force rookie Andy Dalton to play from behind while the Colts vaunted pass rush destroys the Bengals horrible offensive line. Results: Colts 30- Bengals 9 Overall Record: 6-0

Week 7: Indianapolis Colts vs New Orleans Saints @ Superdome This is the rematch that Colts fans have been waiting for since February 2009. However, they will be disappointed in the results. The Colts defense typically struggles when the opposing team either runs it down their throats, or if their offensive line can shut down the pressure from our defensive line and let the holes in the zones expand. Unfortunately the Saints can do both. Their high powered offense is led by Elite QB Drew Brees, who has some of the best skill position players to play with. They have Darren Sproles, Mark Ingram, Pierre Thomas and Mike Bell at running back with Marques Colston, Robert Mecheum, Devery Henderson and Lance Moore at WR. They also have one of the best interior lines in football, but their offensive tackles are average. With all these receiving targets, the Colts will be blowing coverages. Their defense isn’t amazing by any means, but they know how to bring pressure. They had Manning on his heels on the fourth quarter of the Superbowl and threw him out of sync. They have a decent secondary with Jabari Greer, Tracy Porter, Darren Sharper and Roman Harper but their front 7 could be improved. Even with a weak front 7, they can still bring pressure, and that combined with a good secondary will not fare good results. The key to winning this game will be Freeney and Mathis pressuring Brees, and the Colts stopping the run. Brees struggled last season when his entire running back corps went down with injury, so forcing him to rely only on the passing game will help slow down this offense. However, their passing game is still elite and our back 7 will most likely not be able to cover everyone, and that along with this game being away, will result in us losing a close game. Results: Colts 27 – Saints 31 Overall Record: 6-1

Week 8: Indianapolis Colts vs Tennessee Titans @ LP Field The Titans are in complete rebuilding mode, now that Vince Young and Head Coach Jeff Fisher have both left town. They don’t have an established quarterback yet, and have no offensive targets outside of Kenny Britt who will most likely be in jail by the time this game is played. They have Chris Johnson, one of the leagues best running backs, but the Titans will have to rely on their passing game once the Colts take an early lead, shutting down their running game. However, they have one of the best offensive lines in football, so that will greatly help their cause. They haven’t been able to generate pressure from their defensive line since Fat Albert Haynesworth and ancient Kyle Vanden Bosch left town. They still have a decent line backing core, even with the loss of Steven Tulloch in free agency, as well as a solid secondary. However, it will be dissected as Manning gets time to throw in the pocket. The key to this game will be to establish a running game, forcing the secondary to put 8 in the box, which will allow Manning to throw deep passes. The Titans are one of the several teams expected to be a top 5 draft pick next season. Although the Colts typically struggle against teams with solid OT like the Titans do in Michael Roos and David Steward, and with an established running game, the Colts will take an early lead by dissecting the weak Tennessee defense, which will force Jake Locker (or Hasselbeck) to finish the game, which I don’t think they can do. Results: Colts 30- Titans 13 Overall Record: 7-1  

This is part 2 of the 5 part series, which featured weeks 5-8. I hope I wasn’t too biased with it, and you can expect part 3 (weeks 9-12) within the next few days. Go Colts.  

Kyle J. Rodriguez

About Kyle J. Rodriguez

A film and numbers guru, Kyle writes about the NFL and the Indianapolis Colts for Bleacher Report, Draft Mecca and The Football Educator, and is a co-founder and associate editor of Colts Authority. Kyle also is a high school sports reporter for the MLive Media Group in Michigan, covering high school sports across the state.