Early look NFL preview: Indianapolis Colts
Indianapolis ColtsHead coach: Frank Reich (second year) Last year’s record: 10-6, lost in divisional round vs. Kansas City Chiefs, 31-13 First game: Sept. 8 at Los Angeles Chargers Win total: Over/Under 9.5 (Over 9.5 -160, Under 9.5 +130) Super Bowl odds: +1600
No one expected much from a Colts team that went 4-12 in 2017 and kicked off the following season with a 1-5 record. In Frank Reich’s first year as head coach, it looked like Indianapolis had plenty to improve on, but on Oct. 21, the Colts flipped the script. They went 9-1 the remainder of the season to earn a wild-card spot in the playoffs. From there Indy defeated the Texans 21-7, then fell to the Chiefs 31-13 in the divisional round.
Who’s in and who’s outBefore last year’s playoff berth, the Colts last made the postseason in 2014, when they lost to the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship Game. Since that loss the team has undergone a substantial transformation. The only players remaining from 2014’s 90-man roster are quarterback Andrew Luck, wide receiver T.Y. Hilton, tackle Anthony Castonzo, tight end Jack Doyle, safety Clayton Geathers and kicker Adam Vinatieri.
Luck is back in 2019 and fully healthy, off a season in which he threw for 4,593 yards and 39 touchdowns. Hilton also had a stellar year for the Colts, and averaged 16.7 yards per catch for 1,270 yards and six TDs. The duo should find even more success in 2019, and Luck will enjoy plenty of additional options in the passing game.
The Colts drafted Ohio State receiver Parris Campbell (1,063 yards, 12 TDs) and acquired Devin Funchess from the Panthers via free agency. Add tight end Eric Ebron (750 yards, 13 TDs) into the mix, and there’s no shortage of talent Luck can throw to this season.
The offensive line is one of the best in the league and helped Marlon Mack run for 908 yards (16th most in the league) and nine TDs in 2018.
As for the defense the Colts signed four-time Pro Bowl defensive end Justin Houston from the Chiefs. They also drafted cornerback Rock Ya-Sin of Temple and linebacker Ben Banogu in the second round, plus Stanford linebacker Bobby Okereke in the third and safeties Khari Willis and Marvell Tell in the fourth and fifth, respectively.
First game of the season, Sept. 8, 4:05 p.m. ET, Dignity Health Sports ParkIndianapolis Colts (+135) at LA Chargers (-160) Spread: Chargers -3 (-105) Over/Under: Over 48 (-105), Under 48 (-105)
The Colts have what it takes to make the playoffs once again in 2019—and maybe even make a return to the AFC Championship. The Chargers present a difficult season opener, but the Colts will upset the home team with a three-point win.
Over/Under win total: 9.5Schedule (bold font indicates home game): Chargers, Titans, Falcons, Raiders, Chiefs, BYE, Texans, Broncos, Steelers, Dolphins, Jaguars, Texans, Titans, Buccaneers, Saints, Panthers, Jaguars
The Colts will start off a lot stronger than last year. The first loss should come to the Falcons at home. The Chiefs will be too difficult to overcome on the road in October, as will the Saints in Week 15. The Colts will split games with the Texans but defeat the Jaguars and Titans twice. Look for a potential dud against the Steelers or Bucs on the road as well. The Colts will go 10-6. Take the over.
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