We have Ryan Michael, Marisa Scolamiero, Aaron Glenn, and myself, The Stats Guy, Corey McSweeney, returning to the table of round and musing on the topic of the Colts playoff chances.
Well, we are getting to the nitty gritty of the season, folks. Good teams trying to hold on for another month and some change. The struggling teams trying to get above water. The bad teams “battling” for draft pick position. The cold weather. I love it.
Another topic will pop up for some teams. Are we going to the playoffs?
Well, Colts fans, yes we are. There, I said it.
Think about it for a second. If the season ended now, the Colts would have the sixth position in playoffs because they hold tiebreakers over Baltimore and New England with victories over the two, but lose the tiebreaker to Miami because the ‘Fins have a better division record. But that’s only today.
The Colts have San Diego this weekend, followed by behemoths Detroit and Cincinnati coming to the “Luke” and head to Cleveland after that. That should, at minimum, be a 3-1 stretch. There are also two big division games against Jacksonville at the Jags and home against Tennessee the last week of the season.
The Colts have a score to settle with the Jaguars over some bad calls that absolutely cost them in the first matchup and also will want to knock Tennessee off the mantle temporarily in that last game, who will lay down in that matchup, especially if they have a loss coming into it.
If we say that the Colts split those two matchups, that puts them at 10-6, definitely a playoff record. And this is on the low end of expectations the way the Colts are playing.
Ryan Michael seems to be as optimistic as myself.
Will the Colts make the post season?
This is a difficult question to answer. As a Colts fan, my gut instinct is to say yes. I do have a lot of hope placed into this team. They have six games, left and I'd say they need to win four of the six in order to earn the wild card. A lot has to do with other team's future performances, so it's a very grey area to analyze.
I would tend to think that we'd be favored in every one of the remaining six games besides maybe against Tennessee. There is however, a good chance that they will have their playoff position locked up so they might rest players. I personally think we can beat their starters, especially in Indianapolis but if we face their backups? They're in trouble.
I believe we have the potential to win ever remaining game but that would be a lot to hope for. I do believe we will win at least four of the six games we'll probably need to get into the postseason picture. We have games against both the Bengals and Lions which should be an easy road to take.
As for how far we might go in the postseason?
I believe we have the potential to beat any team on any day "if" and only if all the right things add up in our favor. Still, I would put my conservative prediction at us making the playoffs and possibly winning the wild-card game. Beyond that, I'd need to see even more signs of improvement.
But if you "believe" you never know what might happen.
Marisa Scolamiero breaks it down a little more in depth.
The Colts will make the playoffs if they can do a few things first...
The O-Line: When I was in high school the football coaches used to make the offensive lineman do 10 push ups every time someone went over the line. Tony Dungy needs to consider doing something like that with his O-line, because they have been getting way too many calls on false starts.
The offense has been struggling as it is, and doesn't need any thing else to hold it back. Either the line is going to have to work harder or Dungy should start making them do some serious push ups or sprints to get their heads on straight.
Stay Healthy: This past Sunday against Houston, Bob Sanders sat out with a knee injury. Sanders is a big key for the defense, and if he's not healthy, Indy is going to have trouble fending off teams like New England and Pittsburgh.
Peyton seems to really be on the road to recovery as far as his knee goes, but as long as everyone stays healthy there's no reason the Colts shouldn't be playing post season football.
The Running Game: It seems like the Colts finally got their running game going. Previously, Joseph Addai and Dominic Rhodes averaged under 50 yards a game, which in effect hurt Reggie Wayne, Marvin Harrison, and Dallas Clark because all the pressure was on them.
On Sunday, they all stepped up their game. Despite dropping a pass in the second quarter that would've given the Colts a 1st-and-goal, Joseph Addai returned to his old form and ran for 105 yards on 22 attempts and one TD.
It was the first time since the 2007 season that Addai ran for over 100 yards. Indy needs to trust in their offensive weapons and keep going to the passes. My buddy Dallas Clark needs a little extra practice time the next couple of weeks to work on his catching because way too many balls have been slipping right through his fingers.
If all five of these guys along with wide receiver Anthony Gonzalez keep catching the ball and running some distance with it, the Colts are going to start scoring some serious points and blow other teams out of the water.
If the Colts can do all of these things, I believe they can definitely get as far as the AFC championship. Right now, it's a little hard to say if they will make it past that, but only time will tell.
And finally, Aaron Glenn lets us know how the Colts will do in the playoffs.
The Colts have shown that they are clearly running on all cylinders now, as opposed to running on empty. I think the Colts will win when it matters. I really believe that we will make the playoffs and go maybe even as far as the AFC Championship. If we make it there, I think it’s a toss-up after that.
The Colts haven’t looked great this year, but with the running game back on track, and Marvin Harrison getting back into the mix, we will prove to be hard to handle for any team.