Each week, we’ll be scouring the net for team rankings from football experts, covering the previous week, and discussing them here. Let’s see what they have to say this week.
Average Ranking: 8.08 (previously 8.31) – Virtually, no change after a strong statement by the Colts defense.
CBS Sports – Pete Prisco – 5th (+3): The good news coming from the Bengals victory was how well the defense played. You know the offense will get it going again.
(Pete gets right to the point. We thought early on that this defense had the potential to be the best Colts D in years. They showed signs last week that it’s true.)
Cold Hard Football Facts – 7th (-2): Peyton Manning has now put forth three sub-par game ratings in his last five – 65.0 vs. KC, 67.0 vs. PHI and 69.8 vs. CIN. He hasn’t had a stretch with three bad games like that in a concentrated bunch since his rookie year. In three weeks since the bye, he averages a dismal 5.6 YPA with a 75.5 passer rating. He could use some help from the running game: the Colts are tied with Dallas for fewest runs of 10+ yards (16).
(As tired as I am of hearing about injuries, this would be a good time to point out the probable cause of 18′s recent struggles.)
ESPN – Kuharsky – 10th (no change): How many injured guys can make it back for the showdown at New England?
(How many, indeed? And maybe more importantly, any key players like Collie and Addai?)
Fox Sports – 6th (+1): This team is beat-up on both sides of the ball but remains the class of the AFC South. But for the Colts to go far in the playoffs, they’ll have to get some of those key players back on the field soon. Their depth will be tested by the visiting Patriots this week.
(Very true, and I readily admit to having real concern about the outcome of this week’s game. Oh! And the game is in Foxboro, guys.)
National Football Post – 10th (no change): Can Manning and the Colts survive the enormous amounts of injuries in Indianapolis?
(They barely survived the mediocre Bengals last week. Against the Pats? It could be a long day on Sunday.)
NFL.com’s Collective Brain Trust – 8th (+2):
(Seeing my team at #8 hurts enough. Do you guys really have to put NE on top?)
Michael Silver – 10th (-2): If Indianapolis Star columnist Bob Kravitz’s cruise-ship analogy about the injured Colts was brought to life, and I was one of the passengers who had to subsist on mayonnaise sandwiches, how quickly would I jump overboard?
(You’ll find Colts fans made of sterner stuff, Mr. Silver. We’re here to ride out the storm.)
Sporting News – 7th (-1): TE Jacob Tamme quickly has gone from a Dallas Clark replacement to an integral part of the passing game.
(True. Now the question is ‘Will he play on Sunday?’)
Sports Illustrated – Don Banks – 8th (-1): Has it really been since the 2006 regular season since we’ve seen the Colts-Patriots rivalry unfold in Foxboro? I’ll bet Peyton Manning hasn’t missed ol’ Gillette Stadium for a single second. It doesn’t get any better in the NFL than this, Manning vs. Tom Brady, with two first-place teams behind them. Even if we don’t recognize many of the names on either offense.
(I find it interesting that Don quickly dismisses the Colts’ extreme injury situation by labeling it no more drastic than what NE is facing. Whatever makes you comfortable, Mr. Banks.)
Sports Illustrated – Peter King – 12th (-1): The Colts will be there at the end. I’m pretty sure of that. I just don’t know whether they’ll actually win the game when they’re there at the end.
(They’ll be there. Peyton will make sure of that.)
USA Today – 8th (unchanged): Could be playing for home field in playoffs vs. Patriots.
(This also is quite true. Of course, in TJ’s World, Colts win big on Sunday, and Patriots never recover from the humiliation. And just for the record, I like sentences that include the words Patriots and humiliation.)
Walter Football – 5th (no change): Peyton Manning tends to struggle against tough 3-4 defenses in the playoffs – except versus the Ravens, who have never been able to figure him out. And after getting pawned by the Patriots between 2001 and 2005, Manning suddenly owns the rivalry between he and Tom Brady. Maybe Brady’s beautiful hair will tilt the balance in his favor again.
(Maybe. One thing’s for certain – the new hair style gives us all a bit more insight into Brady’s tilt.)
WEEI in Boston – 9th (+1): Peyton Manning continues to lead his team to victories despite a plethora of injuries. We’ll learn a lot more about how well the Colts can play without their key starters in the next two weeks when they take on the Patriots and the Chargers.
(Would you say we have a plethora of injuries… because I would hate it if you were to say we have a plethora of something and you don’t even know what a plethora is. ~ Points awarded to first poster to name the quote.)