Every year, you can expect Peyton Manning to lead the Indianapolis Colts to around 12 wins and a playoff berth. It's just the way that it is and it will be like that for as long as Manning is in Indy and healthy.
That said, all the regular season success, including breaking the record for most wins in a decade last season, has only lead to one Super Bowl. Thinking about this brings flashbacks of Ty Law in New England and Mike Vanderjagt's missed field goal against Pittsburgh.
It's pretty safe to say that the Colts have had their struggles in the postseason.
However, last year was a great year for Indianapolis, making it all the way to the Super Bowl despite losing to the New Orleans Saints. This season the goal is the same as it always is: win enough in the regular season to get home field advantage, and then win the Super Bowl.
If they plan to do that, these are the areas of the game they need to improve upon:
The Offensive Line
The big concern for the Colts' line after their poor performance in the Super Bowl is the guard position. Last year's left guard Ryan Lilja was released which leads to a competition for Tony Ugoh and Andy Alleman, who was picked up in free agency.
On the right side, Kyle DeVan and Mike Pollak will be battling for the starter spot after DeVan replaced Pollak mid-way through last season.
The comforting thought in all of this is knowing that Jeff Saturday will still be there to lead this group.
Replacing Raheem Brock's Valuable Presence on Defense
He played just about everywhere last season along the defensive line, and in his eight seasons started all but eight games. His versatility will obviously be hard to replace, but it has to be.
Players who will be fighting for his role this off season are veteran players Keyunta Dawson and Eric Foster. Seventh round draft pick, Ricardo Matthews, might also have a chance to grab this spot.
Joseph Addai, Donald Brown, and the Running Game
Last year, the Colts were ranked last in the NFL in rushing yards per game and yards per attempt. Remember how great Addai seemed to fill the role of Edgerrin James in his rookie season? That was the year they won the Super Bowl. Addai's performance in the comeback against the Patriots that year was what Indianapolis needs out of him if they're going to win another Super Bowl.
That said though, this has a lot more to do with the offensive line. As I said earlier, the line needs to improve tremendously if the Colts are going to win it all next season. The better the line is, the better the running game is, the better the whole team is.
What to expect from the Colts this season
Obviously, the Colts have the talent to have another 12-14 wins this season and should be able to compete for another AFC Championship in the playoffs. With Anthony Gonzalez coming back from an injury, Indy will have one of the most talented wide receiving corps in the entire NFL.
There's always still Peyton Manning.
There will be no Super Bowl loss hangover this season with Manning running the show. His leadership and talent will never let it happen. So, be ready for another great season for the Colts in 2010.