Indianapolis Colts Progress Report: Where Things Stand Heading into Week 14

Nate Dunlevy@NateDunlevyGuest ColumnistDecember 4, 2012

Fleener's return boosts the Colts.
Fleener's return boosts the Colts.Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

The Indianapolis Colts are 8-4 on the 2012 season and in second place in the AFC South. They are in line for the fifth seed in the AFC playoffs.

In Week 14, they face the Tennessee Titans at Lucas Oil Stadium.

The Colts rank 17th on offense, 31st on defense and 28th overall in DVOA.


Primary Talking Point For Week 14

At some point the magic has to wear off, but as of right now, the Colts are swimming in pixie dust.

After yet another inexplicable victory, there's nothing left to say about the 2012 Colts other than, "Wow."

Indy has played the underdog card all year, but now it transitions into being the favorites. The Colts will be expected to win at home against the Titans and on the road at Kansas City.

For a young team still finding its way, that makes for a challenging test.

Can the Colts maintain their edge when the whole world does believe in them?


Injury Outlook

Bruce Arians indicated in his press conference that the Colts came out largely unscathed against the Lions.

Joe Reitz and Winston Justice both had head injuries.

Tom Zbikowski has a shin issue.

The status for all three players is unknown at this time.


Player on the Rise

Coby Fleener has had a bad rap this season.

He started slowly with a lot of drops and was just getting into a groove when he went down with injury.

He caught his first career touchdown against the Lions and has now raised his DVOA to negative-0.7 percent. That basically means he's a league average tight end already.

He's not lighting the league on fire, but considering where he was, to wind up with a positive season is impressive.

He'll be a major help to the Colts' offense down the stretch.


Feel-Good Stat of the Week

The Colts are 30th in turnover differential, at minus-16.

Why should Indy fans feel good about that?

Follow this twisted logic. The kind of stats that often portend a collapse are when a team has an unusual number of highly improbable plays break their way.

Long returns for scores or an unusual number of fumble recoveries typically speak to a house of cards waiting to collapse.

Indy doesn't have anything like that going its way. If anything, it is due a few breaks.

That's not to say the Colts will improve. They are who they are at this point.

The good news is that they aren't likely to have the carpet pulled out from under them in the final four weeks either.

They are likely to keep playing like they have, and fans should continue to feel good about Luck down the stretch.


Troubling Stat of the Week

With Jared Cook coming to town, the Colts should be worried about their ranking of 32nd against tight ends.

Cook didn't have a big game against the Texans, but he did get 15 targets. If Indy can't keep him under wraps, it could suffer a costly upset at home.

The Colts have issues all over their defense, but they have to improve against tight ends if they hope to score an upset in the playoffs.


Overall Trend: Rising

At this point, what more is there to say about the state of the Indianapolis Colts?

There's no rational reason why this team keeps winning, but it keeps winning. It has two winnable games in its next three, and even a single victory would likely be enough to send it to the postseason.

It's a miracle season in Indianapolis.

Colts fans, don't explain miracles. Just be grateful for them.


    Combine Drills That Don't Exist—but Should

    NFL logo

    Combine Drills That Don't Exist—but Should

    Doug Farrar
    via Bleacher Report

    NFL Scouts' Takes on Draft's Top QBs

    NFL logo

    NFL Scouts' Takes on Draft's Top QBs

    Matt Miller
    via Bleacher Report

    NFL's Take on Marijuana Seems to Be Shifting

    NFL logo

    NFL's Take on Marijuana Seems to Be Shifting

    Mike Freeman
    via Bleacher Report

    Report: DeMarcus Lawrence Wants $17M a Year

    NFL logo

    Report: DeMarcus Lawrence Wants $17M a Year

    Rob Goldberg
    via Bleacher Report