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 3 out of a 5 part series.
Week 9: Indianapolis Colts vs Atlanta Falcon @ Lucas Oil Stadium
The Falcons are in NFC South, a division that features the Saints and the Buccaneers, both play-off caliber teams. Despite that, they still made it to the divisional playoffs last year, only to get torched through the air by Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers. However, they are still a good team with a young, franchise quarterback in Matt Ryan, a power-running scheme led by Michael Turner and a elite receiver core which includes Hall of Fame tight end Tony Gonzalez, pro bowl receiver Roddy White and now Julio Jones. They also have a decent offensive line, despite the release of Harvey Dahl.
Luckily, their defense isn’t as impressive as their offensive. However, it is still good. They have a solid defensive line, anchored by All-Pro DE John Abraham, newly-added Ray Edwards, and defensive tackles Johnathan Babineaux and Peria Jerry. They also have a decent line backing core with Curtis Lofton and Mike Peterson. The problem however, lies within their secondary. Their cornerbacks consists of a notoriously overpaid Dunta Robinson, a familiar face in Kelvin Hayden and a solid Brent Grimes. whilst their safeties are average at best.
The Falcons will score points on the Colts defense, no doubt about it. However, the Falcons didn’t do much to improve their weak secondary, and Peyton Manning will take advantage of it. Expect this to be a hard fought game, where the best offense will prevail.
Results: Colts 28-Falcons 24
Overall Record: 7-2
Week 10: Indianapolis Colts vs Jacksonville Jaguars @ Lucas Oil Stadium
The Glitter Kitties are the only team in the NFL that can beat the Colts with roster composed of Curtis Painters and Taj Smiths. They were very active in free agency, signing several key players such as Clint Session, Dawan Landry and Paul Posluszny. They, however, didn’t have a great draft, reaching on several picks and taking a project quarterback in Blaine Gabbert in the first round (while giving up another 3rd rounder to trade up for him). Despite that, they still know how to beat the Colts. They have a strong running game as well as a strong-legged kicker that can make some of the long field goals when David Gerrard can’t finish a drive off.
Their quarterback position is mediocre. Their #2 running back in Rashad Jennings is on IR for the year, and their offensive line is average at best. Although the Jaguars don’t have a strong receiving corp, their tight ends in Zach Miller and Merecedes Lewis will be taking advantages of all the broken coverages made by the Colts horrible cover-backers. That, tied with the Jaguars strong running game will keep the game competitive.
On defense, they have injury prone Aaron Kampton (who will probably blow out an ACL by this week anyways) and Jeremy Mincey (who?) at the defensive ends positions, while having Terrence Knighton and Tyson Alualu at the defense tackle positions. They have an incredibly strong linebacking corp, in Posluszny, Session, and Smith. However, their secondary will cost them the game. They have Dawan Landry manning their Strong Safety position, but their free safety position is completely devoid of talent. Also their cornerbacks consist of a rapidly declining Rashean Mathis, Derek Coxx and now Dwight Lowery. Their lack of pass rush and the weak secondary will cause the Jaguars to lose this game.
Results: Colts 30- Jaguars 20
Overall Record: 8-2
Week 10: BYE
Week 11: Indianapolis Colts vs Carolina Panthers @ Lucas Oil Stadium
The Panthers roster is a mess. Their offense is led by Cam Newton (also known as the next Jamarcus Russel), and their two headed-monster running attack in DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart. However, their receiving corps is a mess, with a declining Steve Smith and no other names after him. However, their tight ends make up for it with Greg Olson (Dallas 2.0) and Jeremy Shockey. Their offensive line isn’t amazing, but they do have one of the top LT in Jordan Gross, one of the top Centers in Ryan Kalil and a decent RT in Jeff Otah. However, they lost their pro bowl kicker in John Kasay, so their insurance policy for Cam Newtons’ unability to finish off a drive is gone.
On defense is where the main problem lies. They now run a hybrid 3-4/4-3 led by former Charger defensive coordinator, Ron Rivera. They have a 1-year wonder in Charles Johnson playing as their primary pass-rusher, with no one of any significance on the other side. They also have NO good defensive tackles, which is kinda bad when you run a 3-4 (or any scheme for that matter). They also have no linebackers outside of Jon Beason and no cornerbacks outside of Chris Gamble. Their safety position is also weak.
When playing against the Colts, while not being able to bring pressure, stop the run or the pass, you will definitely lose. Expect the Colts to implement a running game, with several play-action passes, while the Panthers will most likely rely on their running game and tight ends. This will most likely be a blow out, and will result in an easy win.
Result: Colts 34 – Panthers 10
Overall Record: 9-2
This is part 3 of the 5 part series, which featured weeks 9-12. I hope I wasn’t too biased with it, and you can expect part 4 (weeks 13-17) within the next few days.