Colts' Fans Will have something to cheer about.
The Manning-less Indianapolis Colts' 2011 campaign has been far from what the Indy fans have gotten used to over the years.
The Colts are sitting at 0-9 and many are talking about a winless year by the once-feared Colts offense.
Colts fans, worry not. Your beloved team won't disappoint anymore than they already have and will win one game before season's end.
Playing for pride is always on the minds of players all around the NFL.
Losing nine straight games isn't quite what these professionals expect for all the hard work they put in throughout the year. There's always that turning point where enough is enough and a victory is needed to keep the fans interested.
The Colts' fan base has seen their team go through the highs and lows. They expect their team to play hard no matter their ranking. The least the players can do is go out and show their appreciation by trying to put together a win.
In the end, this team is made up of professionals that know how to win at any level and have what it takes to win on any day. The team has struggled getting the ball into the end zone but with no chance at the playoffs, there's nothing to lose for these Colts. Why not air it out and give the fans a show?
The offense has not been putting up numbers that anyone could call impressive.
Through nine weeks the Colts passing game is ranked 28th in the NFL, only managing 182 yards a game. But there may be change on the horizon.
Now that Painter has had his chance to shake the nerves and realize that he and his squad can't possibly do any worse than what they've done so far, he can go out and focus on the fundamentals.
After nearly leading a comeback win against the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 3 and throwing 250-plus yards twice in his five starts this season, we know once he starts finding his receivers, he can really go off on defenses.
If defenses like Pittsburgh, Kansas City and Cincinnati have seen struggles against the former Boilermaker, some of the remaining defenses shouldn't be surprised if he and his receivers start finding the end zone.
The Colts' receivers may not be celebrating in the end zone as much as they have in the past while Peyton Manning was under center. But they are still the same players.
With a receiving corp consisting of Pierre Garcon, Reggie Wayne and Austin Collie, it's a wonder that these players haven't been able to get open for Painter like they did for Manning.
Garcon has led Colts' receivers with nearly 600 yards through the air while averaging 14.8 yards a catch. He's already found the end zone four times while the rest of the receivers have only managed three TDs combined.
These numbers are nowhere near what they could be if the offense minimizes turnovers in their remaining games. Although Painter has thrown at least one interception in his past four starts, he has shown that he can string together completions against respected defenses.
With Wayne, Collie, and Dallas Clark also trying to get open, expect these receivers to lead the Colts to victory before season's end.
Although the Colts have some tough matchups left this year, they also have some winnable games left.
The 2-9 Jags are better than their record shows but they also have weaknesses that have landed them nine losses. Their offense has also seen its struggles getting into the end zone, touting the NFL's worst passing offense.
If the defense can keep the Jags' numbers low enough, the Colts' offense has a great chance at finally out-scoring someone. The great thing about having the Jags in their division is the Colts have two excellent chances at getting a win.
The key will be finding a way to move the ball while not turning it over against the Jags' prowling defense. It may be left up to the Delone Carter/Joseph Addai combo in the backfield to keep the chains moving and finish drives in the red zone.
Also in the Colts' way is Cam Newton's Panthers. If the Colts' lacking defense can find a way to slightly slow the rookie quarterback, the Colts can expose a Panther defense that has given up 28-plus points five times this year.
In all three games the Colts have a great chance to finally show their offense either still has some skill left over in the tank from the Manning days, or show that the fans have to get over their Manning-led daze.