Andrew Luck has led the Colts to five comeback wins this season.
Andrew Luck is having a Rookie of the Year season, and looking at the remaining schedule, a deep playoff run is possible, because none of the AFC teams are playing perfect football right now.
Luck has surprised many analysts, as he has led the Indianapolis Colts to eight wins and could lead them deep into the playoffs.
After a horrible 2-14 record last season, this year was supposed to be a rebuilding year with a rookie quarterback, running back and tight end.
However, Luck had other things in mind. After going 1-2 before their bye week, The Colts came back with a purpose as Luck drove downfield to defeat the Green Bay Packers late in the fourth quarter.
They got blown out by the New York Jets 35-9, as Luck threw zero touchdowns and two interceptions. The Colts then went on a four-game winning streak before a devastating loss to the New England Patriots.
They are currently on a two-game winning streak as they get ready for the Tennessee Titans. The Colts have yet to face the division-leading Houston Texans, and those games would be telling on how Luck could fare in the playoffs.
Here are three scenarios on how Luck and the Colts could make it far into the playoffs.
The Colts have built momentum around coach Chuck Pagano and his battle with leukemia.
The Colts have been building momentum over the past couple of weeks. Whether it’s because of “ChuckStrong” or pure skill, who knows, but it’s working for Indianapolis.
This is a winnable matchup for Luck. The Colts are averaging 285.6 passing yards per game, fifth in the league. They rank 18th in rushing yards, but they don’t want to run against the seventh-best rush defense.
Cornerback Champ Bailey will be covering Reggie Wayne all game. Luck would have to pick on cornerback Chris Harris, who would be covering rookie wide receiver T.Y. Hilton. Harris has only two interceptions on the year. Hilton had 588 yards and five touchdowns, highest on the team.
They could get an even easier matchup if the Ravens fall to the fourth seed in the next couple of weeks. The Ravens rank 23rd in passing and 23rd in rushing. They are also dealing with injuries to key defensive players, like linebacker Ray Lewis and cornerback Lardarius Webb.
An easy first-round matchup, and win, would give Luck and the Colts the confidence and momentum they need heading into the divisional round.
The New England Patriots won the AFC five times in 11 years.
The Patriots started the season on the wrong foot. They were 3-3 in their first six games. After a late-game loss to the Seattle Seahawks, the Patriots began their current six-game winning streak.
During the streak, they defeated the Colts 59-24. Tom Brady threw for 331 yards and three touchdowns, while Andrew Luck threw for 334 yards, two touchdowns and three interceptions.
The Colts are not ready to face the Patriots early in the playoffs. The Colts have a good chance of beating the other four teams in the playoffs. Each team has a flaw that the Colts can take advantage of.
However, the Patriots are the best overall team. With Brady at quarterback, a revamped running game and an aggressive defense, not to mention to acquisition of cornerback Aqib Talib, New England will be a hard team to beat, especially for the young Indianapolis Colts.
If the Colts defeat the Broncos, they would play the Pats if the Steelers win the division and the Texans defeat the Ravens. Both teams are tough matchups, but the Colts would have a better chance defeating the Texans. Matt Schaub and the Texans are susceptible to losing to an underdog. They went into overtime in back-to-back games against the Jacksonville Jaguars and Detroit Lions.
Donnie Avery caught the winning touchdown against the Detroit Lions last week.
Last week, Andrew Luck brought his team back from 14 points down against the Detroit Lions with less than nine minutes left in the game.
The Colts scored the winning touchdown when Luck passed to Donnie Avery as the clock read all zeros.
Of the Colts’ eight wins, five of them were come-from-behind wins.
These wins are good momentum-builders as Luck and the Colts get ready for the playoffs.
However, the playoffs aren’t a time for come-from-behind wins. Of the 11 games in the 2011 playoffs, five of the winners took the lead late in games, including the New York Giants in the Super Bowl. Three of the four 2011 wild-card games ended in a blowout.
Andrew Luck will most likely have his first playoff game in the Wild Card. With history going against the rookie, Luck and the Colts must be able to get at least a seven-point lead and hold on to it in order to make a Super Bowl run. A three-point lead won’t be big enough for this team, especially the defense, to hold on to.