Today's NFL preview brings us the Indianapolis Colts, a team which remains a solid contender notwithstanding a dearth of fanfare thus far during the abbreviated training camp/preseason period.
While other on-paper contenders such as Philadelphia and New England have brought in high-profile free agents, the Colts are anxiously awaiting the return of legendary signal-caller Peyton Manning, who in my opinion is the G.O.A.T., despite my status as a Broncos fan, from a neck injury.
At this stage of his career, Manning has better stats than Brett Favre did entering his 14th season and has a 2-1 TD/INT ratio, an impressive number for a signal-caller who throws as much as he has.
While Manning has lost his longtime mentor Tom Moore, he retains plenty of weapons including receivers Reggie Wayne, Pierre Garcon and (hopefully) Austin Collie, who has had a significant amount of concussions the past few seasons.
The Colts' defense should be bolstered with a rare big guy as ex-Bear Tommie Harris has a chance to be the best Indianapolis defensive tackle since Tony Siragusa.
Additionally, much of the core of a small, yet swift and hard-hitting, defense returns with staples such as Gary Brackett, Antoine Bethea and Jerraud Powers hoping to improve upon a relatively disappointing performance last season.
No matter how bleak Manning's prognosis may be, I know he will be under center September 11 at Houston and continue to lead this team as he always has.
I see the Colts winning 11 or 12 games this season as they always do and I admire management's approach to retain talent already in place, realizing that with Manning in charge, circumstances are always propitious.
Do not be surprised if the Colts become the first team in NFL history to host a Super Bowl.
Until then, I can hardly wait for the regular season and to watch things unfold.
Thanks for reading!