The Colts Are Winning but Not Good and Other AFC South Must-Reads

Nate Dunlevy@NateDunlevyGuest ColumnistDecember 10, 2012

Reggie Wayne is good. The Colts are not.
Reggie Wayne is good. The Colts are not.Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Despite a gaudy 9-4 record, the Indianapolis Colts can hardly be considered a "good" football team.

Today's article of the day comes from Bob Kravitz of the Indianapolis Star who says that despite their share of magic, the Colts are a good football team.

Of course, as he begins to unpack his presupposition, he's left with more pixie dust and good feelings than actual talent.

What the Colts are doing in 2012 is remarkable. For fans of the team, it is wonderful.

It is also inexplicable.

Indy rode an amalgam of emotion, clutch play, an easy schedule and some dumb luck all the way to the brink of the postseason, but no one should confuse that mystical mix with the same thing as having a fundamentally good team.

The Colts labored to beat a 4-9 team at home. Since toppling Green Bay in Week 4, the Colts haven't beaten a winning team.

The combined record of the next seven teams they beat is 29-62, and they won by a total of 43 points. That's just over six points a game, and the number is only that high because they beat the Jaguars by 17. The other six wins all game by a touchdown or less.

They've lost to both the teams with at least six wins that they played in that stretch.

It's fun to fall in love with a team. It's amazing when a group has a special season.

But to call the team good for knocking over a line of soup cans makes no sense.

The truth is the Colts weren't underestimated at all. The gap between what they are and what they were expected to be isn't that great. Their record says more about the teams they've played than the team they are.

Buffalo was supposed to be better than 5-8. No one had Detroit or Tennessee at 4-9. As it turned out, those teams were just bad enough that the Colts could beat them.

The Colts eeked out four wins over teams that have dramatically underperformed. The difference between the 9-4 team the Colts are and the four- or five-win team they were expected to be is slight.

Don't tell me that a team that has been outscored by 41 points on the season is "good".

Determined? Yes.

Special? Yes.

Blessed? Yes.




General Interest

J.J. Cooper of the Football Outsiders tracks coverage sacks.

Scott Kacsmar of Cold Hard Football Facts tracks fumble luck for quarterbacks.

Keith Goldner of the Football Outsiders considers the impact of the Schiano rule on strategy.

Brian Burke on Deadspin looks at the impact of the proposed kickoff change.

Paul Kuharsky of compares Andrew Luck and Jake Locker.

Burke begins an assessment of when to intentionally allow a touchdown on Advanced NFL Stats.

The Football Outsiders post their Audibles at the Line.


Houston Texans

Robert Mays of Grantland loves the play of J.J. Watt against the run.

Stephanie Stradley of the Houston Chronicle interviews Kerry Byrne.

John McClain of the Houston Chronicle has a pregame guide.

Tania Ganguli of the Houston Chronicle posts updates on injuries.

McClain says J.J. Watt has hit new heights. 


Indianapolis Colts

Mike Chappell of the Indianapolis Star says players like playing for Bruce Arians.

Kuharsky says Reggie Wayne hopes the era of diva wideouts is over.

Phil B. Wilson of the Indianapolis Star says the playoffs are a lock.

Chappell says the defense showed up for once.

Conrad Brunner of suggests that whatever the Colts do at halftime is working.


Tennessee Titans

Andrew Strickert of Total Titans says fans should be happy the Titans' record isn't worse.

Strickert recaps the Titans' loss.

David Climer of the Tennessean says Jake Locker's play is up and down.

John Glennon of the Tennessean recounts the Titans' red-zone woes.


Jacksonville Jaguars

Vito Stellino of the Florida Times-Union calls the Jaguars "helpless". 

Gary Smits of the Florida Times-Union says fans hoping to see Tebow were disappointed.


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