There hasn't been a more consistent team in the NFL over the past decade than the Indianapolis Colts. Even teams like the Patriots, Eagles, Steelers and Chargers have stumbled here or there, but the Colts? They've managed to get into the playoffs virtually every year Peyton Manning has been in the league.
Part of that can be attributed to the fact they've never consistently faced major competition in their division. Sure, the Titans and Jaguars have had a decent year every now and then, but no one has really been able to dethrone the kings of the AFC South with any sort of consistency.
The changing of the guard, though, will start to take place in 2011 because the Colts will be doing an unfamiliar thing in January—watching the playoffs from home.
The obvious reason will be due to the injury to Manning. The uncertainty of his neck creates a ton of doubt to the Colts season. Will he start the season? If not, how many games will he miss? Will he never be 100 percent?
Peyton Manning aside, the Colts are fielding arguably the weakest team since the 1990s. With no new additions at receiver, a shoddy running game, an aging offensive line and no real playmakers on defense beyond their defensive line, this is not a Super Bowl-worthy roster.
Combine that with Manning and you have a team that could very well toil around the .500 mark. Let's not forget, the Colts weren't gang busters in 2010, struggling to win the AFC South and losing their first-round game to the New York Jets.
Waiting to take over as champions will be the Houston Texans, who unlike Indianapolis, have added playmakers to improve their defense.
The team already has an offense that rivals Indianapolis and now their defense may be better as well.
The Colts have enjoyed an incredibly impressive run, but all good things must come to an end.