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: 12.77 (previously 9.46) – Another big drop and the first time the Colts find themselves ranked in the double-digits.
CBS Sports – Pete Prisco – 13th (-4): Their showing had to be a good sign for the rest of their division. The injuries might be too much to overcome. Peyton Manning needs help, and he wasn’t very good against San Diego.
(I cringe at the thought of everyone in those other three AFC South cities watching and cheering as the Colts lose another game. At the same time, I relish their upcoming collective anguish as the Colts once again win the division and eliminate them from the playoffs. And they will.)
Cold Hard Football Facts -13th (-2): Peyton Manning leads the league with 34 drops by his receivers, so that’s why his numbers are off, right? Maybe, except that Tom Brady is No. 2 with 30 receiver drops, and it doesn’t seem to be keeping him down.
(Hearing this stat reinforces, to me, the importance of a dependable slot receiver. Brady has Welker. When Manning lost Clark and then Collie, the air attack took a nosedive. It’ll take a healthy Austin and a continually improving Tamme to overcome the loss of Clark. He’s that important.)
ESPN – Kuharsky – 14th (-5): The offensive line issues really showed in a bad loss to San Diego. When will the Colts fix this?
(That’s a really good question. I wish I believed them when they say ‘We just have to play better’.)
Fox Sports – 14th (-2): Man, how things are slipping for the Colts. And QB Peyton Manning has seven interceptions over his last two games. But don’t put it all on Manning. Not by a long shot. The receivers simply don’t have good timing with him. And the running game issues continue to linger.
(Personally, I believe the San Diego game was a fluke. Manning, O-Line, receivers, RBs and their blitz pickups… all played poorly against the #1 defense in the league. And yes, their timing suffered greatly. I expect to see a much improved offense this Sunday against Dallas.)
National Football Post – 12th (-1): When was the last time Peyton Manning looked that uncomfortable in the pocket?
(Good question. Here’s another. Have we EVER seen Brady have to deal with that much pressure? I don’t believe we have. OK, enough about Brady.)
NFL.com’s Collective Brain Trust – 14th (-5):
Michael Silver – 14th (-4): Should Peyton Manning even bother play-faking anymore?
(Ouch. That hurts, Michael. I’m not saying you’re wrong; it just hurts.)
Sporting News – 12th (-4): Peyton Manning is still one man, and it’s even hard for even him to compensate for so many injuries.
(Word! So let’s get some players back… I just wish Clark was on the list.)
Sports Illustrated – Don Banks – 12th (-3): No 12-win season for Indy this time, and that hasn’t happened since 2002. But a 9-7 might still win the AFC South and give them a first-round home game in the playoffs. The Colts just better hope they don’t run into the Chargers again if they do make into January’s Super Bowl tournament.
(Personally, I’m planning on 10-6, a re-match with San Diego including a healthy Austin Collie, and a very different outcome.)
Sports Illustrated – Peter King – 14th (-4): The Sunday night game was as poor a performance by the Colts (the Colt varsity, mind you, not the Colt JV we sometimes get in the last game or two of the year) as I’ve seen since the home playoff debacle to the Chargers three years ago. It might be time to worry, Colts’ fans. Indy’s looking very much like an AFC fourth seed, having to beat the Jets or Patriots in the Wild Card game just for the privilege of then having to try to win two road games in the playoffs.
(If the Colts make the playoffs, and I believe they will as a #4 seed, they’ll host the #5. After that, it’s all road trips. Remember when the Colts went 5-1 on the road? Yeah, that was last year.)
USA Today – 11th (-2): With 6-5 record, streak of 12-win seasons ends at seven.
(I feel it important to take a second and appreciate what seven straight seasons with 12 wins means. Amazing, really, and I believe they start a new streak next year. Rest up, #44!)
Walter Football – 10th (-3):
(You’re just gonna have to visit his site to read his comments. I’m speechless.)
WEEI in Boston – 13th (-4): Peyton Manning has thrown seven interceptions in the last two games. He certainly looks human with many key pieces missing on offense. The Colts have lost three of their last four games – a poor run defense, an inability to run the ball, and turnovers are the reason.
(“… key pieces missing on offense…” Think they mean Tarik Glenn?)