Colts fans, obviously you know who I am, but here's some background info for those who may not know of my exploits. I am a broadcast journalist for Mid-Utah Radio in Manti and Richfield, Utah and am writing NFL predictions on an alphabetical basis. Since I made it to "I," the Colts were the choice of the day. If you would like to comment, please do so and all feedback will be weighed judiciously. Thanks for your time and good luck (not that you need it...)
In this age of parity, which I love, the Indianapolis Colts are a paragon of excellence, a team that continues to be a consistent contender, notwithstanding the numerous factors in play that usually prevent such things.
When Peyton Manning (just another year at the office in 2009, 4,500 passing yards, 33 TD’s, 16 INT’s while completing almost 69 percent of his passes) is your quarterback, it’s easy to overcome “deficiencies” such as being dead last in rushing offense in NFL annals.
Of course, Manning gets plenty of help from the likes of Reggie Wayne (100 rec, 1,264 yards, 10 TD’s), and the currently injured Dallas Clark (100, rec, 1,106 yards, 10 TD’s) as well as Austin Collie (60 rec, 676 yards, 7 TD’s), Pierre Garcon (47 rec, 765 yards, 5 TD's but most important, Peyton's best postseason pal in 2009) and, if healthy, Anthony Gonzalez.
Perhaps the thing that will make Manning the greatest signal-caller the game has seen upon his retirement (in my opinion) is the excellence that was Wayne’s and Clark’s stats in 2009.
Manning not only is in command of virtually every offensive set known in modern-day football (much credit goes to ageless senior offensive assistant Tom Moore for that), he has a peerless ability to equally use all of his weapons.
Spreading the ball around is obviously only one of Manning’s litany of strengths, but it’s the most apt for my statement.
In the rare event when Manning does not lead a touchdown drive, the kicking has been solid.
Furthermore, with a pass rush featuring the likes of Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis (a combined 23 sacks in 2009) and a secondary that even in Bob Sanders’ absence is solid, (Jerraud Powers and Jacob Lacey are studs) the Colts look like elitists in the AFC once again.
Although Jeff Saturday’s injury on the offensive line could potentially create some concern early in the season, the Indianapolis offensive line is still virtually bereft of weakness as with Manning’s quick release, mistakes can easily be mitigated.
If I were a betting man (which I’m not since I try to be a good Mormon like Collie), I would definitely lay a few bones on the Colts winning 12 games as they have won at least 12 for the past seven years, obviously an NFL record.
Of course, the same parity that the Colts have eluded in terms of amassing postseason appearances has at times kept them from hoisting the Lombardi as only 2006 in the Manning era has netted Indianapolis the NFL’s most prestigious prize.
With that said, Manning’s greatness makes for compelling theater and I for one hope the Denver Broncos can contend with this illustrious franchise consistently (and hopefully one of these years beat them in the postseason).
A litmus test awaits in Week 3 when the Colts visit the Mile High City, but ultimately, I tip my hat to the Indianapolis Colts who should win the AFC South again.
The question is: will they fulfill their vast potential and bring prestigious hardware back to the Circle City?
My initial response is “yes,” but as always, the beauty of the NFL is no one knows. Stay tuned to another magnificent NFL season and enjoy the ride, Colts fans.