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: 9.46 (previously 8.08) – And they continue to fall even though they almost beat, according to many rankings, the #1 team in the league.
CBS Sports – Pete Prisco – 9th (-4): Peyton Manning is doing all he can, but the injuries are affecting this team in a big way. They’re now in a stretch run for the division title, which is strange for them.
(It definitely feels strange viewing this disastrous season from this fan’s chair, Pete. But don’t be surprised if the Colts go 6-0 down the stretch.)
Cold Hard Football Facts -11th (-4): The Colts’ final six games are against teams behind them in the rankings, and four of the games are at home.
(Thank you, God!)
ESPN – Kuharsky – 9th (+1): Home cooking will be good, but the Chargers are capable of giving the Colts fits.
(True. And of the final six, this is the game I’m most worried about.)
Fox Sports – 12th (-6): I still believe they will wind up winning the AFC South, but the Colts aren’t the once-dominant team from years past. It could be the injury issues from both sides of the ball, but the Colts simply don’t seem to be scaring teams like they have in past seasons.
(I’m scared. Aren’t you? I mean, every time a Colts player is slow to get up, my heart pounds.)
National Football Post – 11th (11): If the playoffs started today, the Colts would be out. When was the last time we said that?
(Well, they don’t start today. Hopefully, a few previously injured Colts do start this Sunday, and they’ll get this thing rolling.)
NFL.com’s Collective Brain Trust – 9th (-1):
Michael Silver – 10th (no change): Will their shaky running game – and leaky run defense – doom them in the end?
(Just breathe, teej, and remember 2006.)
Sporting News – 8th (-1): Peyton Manning can’t get enough thanks for what he has done. Without him, the Colts would be sub-500.
(And I’m reminded of the dejected look on 18′s face and how he’s repeatedly taken full blame for last Sunday’s loss. Tomorrow should be declared Hug Peyton Day.)
Sports Illustrated – Don Banks – 9th (-1): Throw in the Super Bowl loss and the Colts are just 6-5 in their 11 most recent meaningful games, which passes for an extended streak of mediocrity in Indianapolis. With a fourth loss already secured, the Colts would have to run the table in the regular season to keep alive their NFL-record streak of seven consecutive 12-win seasons (2003-2009). That’s a long shot, but I still believe Indy finds a way to make it nine straight trips to the playoffs.
(I’m a long time Lions fan. Believe me, 6-5 doesn’t sound that bad. Especially knowing the Colts will be getting some players back soon. SOON… Please?)
Sports Illustrated – Peter King – 10th (+2): Silver lining out of Sunday? Remaining home-road schedule of the three AFC South contenders: Indy 4 home, 2 road; Tennessee 3-3; Jacksonville 2-4.
(If someone had told me we’d lose Sanders, Clark, Gonzo, and 8 other players not named Manning and that in Week 12, we’d still have a shot at 12-4, I’d have laughed at them. Course, I laugh when I’m nervous.)
USA Today – 9th (-1): Trouble spot: Have won just two of their six road games.
(Troubling, to be sure, if you just count wins and losses. But of their four loses, three have been by three points or less. Turn a play or two in each, and this team is 9-1. Oh! And welcome to TJ’s fantasy world.)
Walter Football – 7th (-2): Last week in my rock-paper-scissors dynamic, I claimed that the Colts owned the Patriots. Oops!
(If we own them, can we fire Belichick?)
WEEI in Boston – 9th (no change): The lack of a run game has really hurt Peyton Manning and the Colts. Offensively, it looks like injuries are finally catching up with them. The troubles with the run defense don’t seem to be going away, either. The Patriots had 168 yards on the ground Sunday, and the Colts currently rank 30th against the run.