Graphic by the Fantabulous Indy Lori
I must admit that I find myself slightly depressed that there are only 2 games left in the regular season.
Average Ranking: 1st
Fox Sports [Updated] ranks us 1st (+1): Though the Colts are the NFL's last unbeaten team, they're not flawless by any means. And certainly not invincible. The Colts have been ripe to be beaten, with nine of their 14 wins decided by one score or less. Updated - there's nothing I enjoy more than a back-handed compliment.
Walter Football ranks us 1st (+1): Indianapolis Colts (14-0) - Previously: #2 - The Colts won't have a shot at the Super Bowl if they sit Peyton Manning and the rest of the starters against the Jets and Bills.
And I'm not talking out of my anus. Here's proof:
The following teams rested their starters in Week 17 before a playoff game. This chart, which goes back to 2002, when the divisions re-aligned, shows how each squad performed in its initial postseason contest. The asterisks denote teams that had first-round byes, like the Colts will.
2008: Titans* - Loss SU (straight up), Loss ATS (against the spread)
2008: Colts - Loss SU, Loss ATS
2007: Colts* - Loss SU, Loss ATS
2007: Jaguars - Win SU, Loss ATS
2007: Steelers - Loss SU, Win ATS
2007: Buccaneers - Loss SU, Loss ATS
2006: Eagles - Win SU, Loss ATS
2006: Saints* - Win SU, Loss ATS
2005: Colts* - Loss SU, Loss ATS
2004: Colts - Win SU, Win ATS
2004: Steelers* - Win SU, Loss ATS
2004: Chargers - Loss SU, Loss ATS
2004: Eagles* - Win SU, Win ATS
2002: 49ers - Win SU, Loss ATS
In short, teams resting their starters in Week 17 are 7-7 straight up and 3-11 against the spread in their first playoff game. You may look at that and say, "Well 7-7 straight up isn't so bad!" Wrong. Every single team on that list, save for one, was a favorite. Going 7-7 straight up when you're expected to win isn't exactly a good thing.
Pete Prisco @ CBS ranks us 1st (nc): They are the last of the unbeaten teams. But do they go for it? That's the big question. Don't push it. Quality problem eh gang?
Vic Carucci at NFL.com ranks us ( will update when it's posted)
NFL.com's Collective Brain Trust ranks us 1st (+1): I see that LT got around to delivering my message to Theismann!
WEEI in Bahstahn ranks us 1st (+1): 14-0 The Colts will finish off the regular season undefeated after they take down the Jets and Bills over the next two weeks.
ESPN ranks us 1st (+1): Now that the Colts are the lone undefeated team, there's no question which squad should be ranked No. 1. (Kuharsky) Now even Kuharsky had to vote them #1
Sporting News ranks us1st (+1): They should play the starters and go for 16-0. The players want to play, and it will help keep them sharp. Plus some love for our D (Emphasis mine): We know how good Peyton Manning is. We know how good the Colts' offense is. But their defense has been underrated. Hardly anyone talks about the absence of injured star safety Bob Sanders anymore because the Colts' defense remains stellar without him. This team looks better than the Colts team that won Super Bowl 41. Now it must prove that during the playoffs, whether it goes 16-0 or not.
National Football Post ranks us 1st (+1): The Colts move up to our top spot with another fourth quarter Manning comeback that might have locked up the MVP award
WhatIfSports ranks us 2nd (nc)
Peter King @ SI ranks us 1st (+1): 1. Indianapolis (14-0). Deservedly, the best team in football. Colts have won low-scoring affairs and shootouts. The one thing that's getting no attention, wrongly, is the Colts' cornerback play. When Indy lost Kelvin Hayden and Marlin Jackson to injury, I was sure they'd have to play games in the 30s each week to win. But they've held 11 of 14 foes to 23 points or fewer, and rookies Jeraud Powers (third round, Auburn) and Jacob Lacey (free agent, Oklahoma State) have been clinging and tough, stunning for rookies playing quality time against the Randy Mosses, Andre Johnsons and, last Thursday, Torry Holt. Credit the Colts' excellent scouting process -- led by director of player personnel Tom Telesco and new GM Chris Polian, with president Bill Polian overseeing the whole deal -- for uncovering an undersized guy like Lacey, who made the interception that clinched the win over Jacksonville Thursday. "He's small but with really good cover ability,'' Bill Polian said over the weekend. "Just great ball sense. Remember the Bill Bradley book, A Sense of Where You Are? That's what this kid reminds me of."
USA Today ranks us 1st (+1): The one constant of the 2009 season has been a Colts victory in every week. Nobody has been better.
CHFF ranks us 1st (+1): Last week: 35-31 win at Jacksonville. Over the last seven games, the Colts have been outgained 2,688 to 2,541 and have committed 13 turnovers while forcing 14. How they’ve gone 7-0 over that stretch will be the focus of the "CSI: Indianapolis" series premiere.
Don Banks @ SI anks us 1st (+1): Have I mentioned lately how in the preseason I foresaw the Colts taking a modest step back this season, missing the playoffs for the first time since 2001 and obviously not winning their customary 12 or so games? Nailed that one, I did. After letting the Saints have their fun, Indy's right back atop the heap in our power rankings, and if the Colts play like they did in Jacksonville, nobody's knocking them off any time soon. Hey, where's the Super Bowl this season? Miami, huh? That worked pretty well for Peyton Manning and Co. the last time. Ok, this is what I've been saying all season! Ouch, just hurt my arm patting myself on the back!
I wish you all the Happiest Holidays possible!