With the end of the lockout nearing, we can now rest assure business will continue as usual. That being said, what does the future hold for the upcoming season? Can we expect the Colts to stay healthy this year, putting them ever closer to that elusive Super Bowl championship at home? The one thing you can be sure to expect is the unexpected, that never fails with each passing year. Let's use the down time between now and the start of the season to make our own predictions. Here is a list of ten things I put together while consulting my own crystal ball....Thanks Miss Cleo.1. The Colts go perfect in their division
As it looks right now the only team worthy of giving the Colts a run for their money is the Texans. Unfortunately for them the lockout occurred while changing their Defensive Coordinator. They may eventually become contenders on the defensive-side of the ball but, Wade Phillips isn't making this happen by game one. The rematch from the beginning of last season will show what Peyton has learned from that game. Even more importantly, game two against them is at Lucas Oil stadium and we all know how much better Indy is at home.
Far as the Jaguars and Titans go, there's always a chance one of them surprise us.... But, for some odd reason they both appeared to have done everything they could to degrade their teams from last year.
2. Austin Collie is a Pro-Bowler
You know what the last few drafts of the Bill Polian era have in common? Not one member has been selected to the pro-bowl from the last 4 of them! That's all about to change with Austin Collie coming back from a freak injury plagued season. Expect Austin to pick up where he left off, rebounding to becoming Manning's favorite target. Hello, Pro-Bowl!
3. Jerry Hughes reaches the 10 sack mark
Some people have already loss faith in Indy's former 1st rounder, I say Nay-nay! Be sure to watch this guy during the preseason, last year the lights appeared to be turning on. He was actually a step away from picking up a sack or two in the limited opportunities given to him. He'll get every chance to see the field this year and Larry Coyer will take full advantage of that.
4. The offensive line will consist of 3 new starters
Last year we had the
pleasure pain of watching the offensive-line block for the G.O.A.T.- Peyton 'frickin' Manning. The stats told a different story from the game film. Manning was running for his life trying not to be killed by the Swiss cheese line-up in front of him. At one point the team even made the porous decision of let rookie Jeff Linkenbach play guard. Only to be tossed like a sack of potatoes on his way to nearly having Manning's head taken off. Here enters 2011 draft picks Costonzo and Ijalana, both figuring to make an immediate impact to the roster. The two of them plus Jacques McClendon should do everything in their power to rectify the blunder put out there in 2010.
5. Peyton Manning clams another MVP award
They should just name this the 'Most Valuable Peyton' award. The only 4 time MVP winner had a impressive year despite throwing to what seemed like a different set of receivers every week and no less dealing with his offense-line (see above). Yet, the numbers from his 2009 MVP campaign yielded only one more INT in 2010, while throwing 108 more passes. If it weren't for Tom Brady's remarkable touchdown to interception ratio, we may have seen another reason for Peyton to receive this honor.
6. Colts win the Super Bowl on home turf
No one in the history of the NFL has won the Super Bowl when their stadium was hosting the event. Allow me to introduce the first...Colts are ready for these bragging rights. Last year's injuries will help create the depth needed to make it all the way to this year's big dance. Not to mention, the Colts pride themselves on accomplishing feats most teams can only dream about. All leading to Peyton Manning strengthening his legacy as The Greatest Quarterback to grace the field by accumulating a second ring.
7. No Undrafted Free Agent makes the final roster cut
With the shorter time period to sign undrafted players, the Colt who pride themselves on finding gems, will not have time to acclimate these rookies. The biggest hurdle the lockout has caused appears to be signing these hundred some odd undrafted players left in limbo. Teams will have no ties to notching a roster spot for these guys left out in the cold. Unfortunately, they will require time to develop and time is not an option thanks to shortened preparation for the season. Better luck next year boys...
8. Jeff Saturday losses his job at some point this season
Jeff isn't a young pup anymore, along with that he's sitting on the last year of his contract. Oh, and on top of all this, he's been representing for the players' side of the negotiations for a new CBA. Leaving us to wonder if he'll be 100% conditioned for the upcoming season. Signs point to this being the year the team confirms who the eventual successor to Saturday shall be.
9. Delone Carter leads the Colts in rushing
If you haven't looked up YouTube footage on this guy yet do yourself a favor, pause, take a look, and go into awe. This man-child is electric, he's big, and doesn't go down after contact. Don't fret about fumbling neither since those guns hanging off his torso keep the ball from ever popping out. ESPN also considers him a candidate to be rookie of the year. When Austin Collie and Delone Carter start exploding on the offensive this year we're gonna be rockin' some AC/DC - remember that you heard it here first.
10. Anthony Gonzalez wins back his starting spot from Garcon
Call me crazy, but this being a contract year for Gonzo he's sure to play hard to be paid. Yes, we all know Pierre is dynamite when he's on the field but, for some reason he cannot put a series of games together. I cannot help but get the feeling this is Gonzo's year to have the cards line up for him. Don't get me wrong, and start thinking I believe Garcon will regulate his time to the bench. Thou, more likely his snap will surely see a major reduction. My guess is when this year is said and done, the Colts use Garcon more as a Reggie Bush type weapon. Discovering that Gonzo forces defenses to account for his versatility, with his crisp route running, and reliable hands.
That's all ten! Please continue the craze of predictions by throwing out your Nostradamus style prophecies. Thanks for reading and Go COLTS!