Indianapolis Colts: Why the Team Will Make the Playoffs in 2012

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Indianapolis Colts: Why the Team Will Make the Playoffs in 2012
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Just last year, the Colts had the worst record in the NFL.

One offseason later, I'm predicting the Colts to make the playoffs.

Indianapolis has a completely different team this year. More than half of their team is made up of new players, and they will have a completely different offense.

During the 2012 NFL Draft, the Colts drafted two quarterbacks, two tight ends, two wide receivers and one running back. Star QB Andrew Luck was drafted with the first pick, and his Stanford teammate, Coby Fleener, was picked by the Colts in the second round.

Two athletic wide receivers, T.Y. Hilton and LaVon Brazill, were drafted in the later rounds, and the same goes for Mississippi State running back Vick Ballard. While not all of these players will make an impact, the team will be scary with all the young talent.

Last year, the defense had problems. However, the Colts brought in the speedy Cassius Vaughn to help out at corner, and they brought in safety Tom Zbikowski to assist Antoine Bethea. The pass rush didn't improve much, but they still have Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis.

The Colts' defense allowed an average of 16 PPG in their last three games, which is a good sign heading into the 2012 season. Expect Freeney and Mathis to apply pressure to the quarterback, and expect the Colts secondary to improve tremendously.

With some of the defensive problems solved, let's go back to the offense. While a lot of people think the Colts will struggle this year and start to launch a dynasty next year or in a couple years, I think the Colts will sneak into the playoffs this year. Here's why.

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Indianapolis starts the season against Chicago, Minnesota, Jacksonville and Green Bay. The Jaguars finished eighth in pass defense last year, but the other three finished 26th, 28th and last.

Playing against bad pass defenses will help Luck settle in to the NFL, and it will help the offense develop chemistry and learn how to play with each other. Once they do that, the team will play well against good defenses.

The speedy Hilton and Brazill will get downfield and be great deep-ball targets. Fleener, who is very fast and athletic for a tight end, will be a great target anywhere on the field. Reggie Wayne, who has great hands and can get open anywhere on the field, will be a great target anytime.

Luck is a very accurate quarterback who stands his ground in the pocket and isn't afraid to take a hit. If he has to scramble, he can, and he can break tackles. Just ask former Cal and current San Diego Chargers safety Sean Cattouse.

This team has all the pieces in place to succeed. Doubters will doubt them and people will say the team can't win with all the young players, but once they develop chemistry and learn how to succeed in the NFL, the Colts will be scary.

And they won't just be scary this year. They'll be scary for years to come. 

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