Indianapolis Colts Progress Report: Where Things Stand Heading into Week 8

Nate Dunlevy@NateDunlevyGuest ColumnistOctober 23, 2012

Allen is starting to make plays for the Colts.
Allen is starting to make plays for the Colts.Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

The Indianapolis Colts are 3-3 on the 2012 season and in second place in the AFC South.

In Week 8, Indianapolis takes on the Tennessee Titans at LP Field in Nashville.

The Colts rank 14th on offense, 29th on defense and 28th overall in DVOA.

Primary Talking Point for Week 8

They are in the hunt in the AFC.

Like an ugly girl with a trust fund, you may not want to dance with them, but you can't entirely rule them out either.

The Colts are playing with house money at this point. They've exceeded their 2011 win total. They will likely meet or surpass all expectations with at least five wins.

They know they aren't an elite squad. The flaws and holes are legion. However, they also know the AFC is so awful that eight wins could land a spot in the postseason, and that is absolutely worth fighting for.

This team feels like it's one good win from getting on a real roll. If the Colts can just make a few more plays on defense, they could be the surprise of the second half of the season.

Injury Outlook

The Colts didn't pick up any new injuries of note in the Browns game, but they are still struggling to get players healthy.

Robert Mathis, Donald Brown and Joe Reitz all missed the last contest. It's reasonable to expect Mathis and Brown will be no better than questionable for the Titans.

Reitz was probable against the Browns but was a late scratch.

Cory Redding and Fili Moala are both battling knee injuries and missed the last game.

Player on the Rise

Dwayne Allen looks better each week.

His run-blocking has already been elite, but the Colts are starting to use him in critical spots in the passing game as well.

He doesn't have a lot of targets, but when Luck throws him the ball good things tend to happen. His catch rate is at 72 percent, and he has a positive DVOA on the season.

Feel Good Stat of the Week


Normally, anything ranked 29th in the NFL is a bad thing, unless it's strength of schedule remaining.

According to the Football Outsiders, Indianapolis plays one of the five easiest schedules in the NFL down the stretch.

Indy plays five games against the bottom seven teams in DVOA. Of course, they happen to be one of those teams, but this is all about feeling good.

All the Colts have to do to finish .500 is beat five of the worst teams in football.

Troubling Stat of the Week

The Colts have forced three turnovers in six games.

That's last in the NFL.

The funny thing is that most fans can probably rattle them off the top of their head. Jerrell Freeman had a pick-six against Jay Cutler. Christian Ponder fumbled on a sack. Jerraud Powers picked off Aaron Rodgers.

That's it.

It's one thing to say, "the Colts lack defensive playmakers." It's quite a different thing to think about three forced turnovers in six games.

The Colts are winning despite the offense facing long fields on almost every drive.

This is not a trend that can continue if the team is going to keep winning.

Overall Trend: Steady

Yes, the Colts beat the Browns, but everyone expected them to.

Indianapolis can take heart from being in the middle of the playoff race, but unless it wins a road game, all the talk is meaningless.

A narrow win over a bad team at home doesn't tell us anything about Indy that we didn't already know.

The stat sheet for Indy is riddled with holes and concerns, but that's nothing that four wins in seven games can't fix.


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