Each week, we’ll be scouring the net for team rankings, from football experts, covering the previous week, and discussing them here. Do the experts know what they’re talking about? Can they back up their rankings, or are they just repeating the same lines we’ve heard over and over for years (Colts can’t run, they’re soft, Manning can’t win the big one, etc.)? Let’s see what they have to say this week.
Average Ranking: 5.15 (previously 8.33) – An average increase of almost three spots is considerable after a victory in a game where the offense struggled and which was much closer than the final score indicates. Frankly, fifth is too high for this team, at this point in the season. My gut tells me these experts are expecting the Colts to go on a winning streak and score them higher than they deserve, sooner than they deserve it.
CBS Sports – Pete Prisco – 6th (+4): They’re tied for the division lead, but they just aren’t clicking yet. The good news is the defense played better against the Chiefs.
(Not clicking ‘yet’. Pete moves Indy up four spots and seems to think the team could get better. I like the way he thinks, but four spots?)
Cold Hard Football Facts – 5th (+3): Need more proof that Peyton Manning is a one-man wrecking crew? The Colts lead the NFL with 15 dropped passes.
(Three drops per game isn’t really devastating, except when they come at critical times – and this year, they’ve come at critical times for Indy. Three spots because we have Manning? OK, I’ll buy that.)
ESPN – Kuharsky – 5th (+4): The Colts’ defense took a turn as the lead dog in an ugly win over the Chiefs.
(And they did it in intimidating fashion, starting with a viscous hit by Bethea to set the tone. But Paul… four spots?)
Fox Sports – 7th (+1): The Colts aren’t exactly playing great football, but they are still in a four-way tie for first place in the AFC South. Despite only posting 19 points last week, their offense is still arguably the best in the NFL.
(It’s not that the Colts aren’t playing well… it’s that they’re not playing well consistently. A jump of one spot seems appropriate after a good defensive performance.)
National Football Post – 7th (+3): The Colts grind out a win over the Chiefs on a below average day for Peyton Manning.
(Below average for Peyton… way below average for the O-Line. But why a jump of three spots? I’ll read between the lines here and assume justification is that the team found a way to win on a day their quarterback struggled. Fair enough.)
NFL.com’s Collective Brain Trust – 5th (+2):
(Guess they expended all their brainpower coming up with the list and couldn’t comment.)
Michael Silver – 6th (+3): If Peyton Manning is Maxwell Smart and Jimmy Irsay is Chief, does that make Bill Belichick Mr. Big?
Sporting News – 5th (+5): Now that they’re even in the AFC South, look for them to start pulling away.
(As if the fact that they’re no longer on the bottom of the division makes all the difference. Don’t they realize that a four-way tie for first is also a four-way tie for last? If the Colts pull away, and I believe they will, it’ll be because players are returning from injury and because replacements are settling in, not because they’re suddenly more motivated. And a jump of five spots? Seriously?)
Sports Illustrated – Don Banks – 6th (+3): As unaccustomed as we are to the Colts looking this fallible, a win at Washington this week will give them a 4-2 record and no worse than a tie for first in the AFC South heading into their Week 7 bye. That’s not the worst position to be in as you stare down the final 10 weeks and begin building toward another meaningful January of football.
(So, you raise them three spots because their bye is coming up?)
Sports Illustrated – Peter King – 5th (+3): I keep figuring we’ll all wake up one of these days and see the Colts of old. Problem is, Indy has so many injuries forcing new guys into the lineup that I keep seeing a lot of shaky Colts of new.
(Peter understands that these shaky Colts are the result of numerous injuries. But a three spot jump because the Colts of old may appear? Seems a bit of a stretch, Pete.)
USA Today – 4th (+3): Win vs. Chiefs had a rarity: no Peyton Manning passing TDs.
(More reading between the lines is in order, I guess. The defense stepped up, and suddenly the Colts are the fourth best team in the league. Sounds good, but I’m not buying fourth.)
Walter Football – 3th (+3): I loved a Sunday NFL Countdown commercial promo, where the guy said, “Tom Jackson’s going to tell us why the Colts can’t fix their problems.” Oh, goodie! Just like when T.J. said the Colts were done in 2008 before they went on a huge run and won nine in a row. I’m going on the record now. I think Indianapolis will win its next five games, which will make Peyton Manning and company 8-2 going into a tough battle against the Chargers. If I’m right, I rule. If I’m wrong, I’ll just make up some excuse and still consider myself awesome.
(Entertaining post. Totally void of rationale, but entertaining none-the-less.)
WEEI in Boston – 5th (+3): The Colts proved they can win without Peyton Manning having a Peyton Manning-like game. Against the Chiefs, it was Indy’s defense that stepped up in the red zone. The Colts also allowed just a field goal following a Manning interception that put Kansas City in great field position.
(I hate to admit it, but these Boston guys kinda, sorta seem to know what they’re talking about. If they didn’t root so hard for the Patriots, I could see myself hanging out with them to talk football. Course, there’s that whole tawking funny thing. I don’t wanna catch it.)