Well Jim Irsay's fiery tweet two weeks ago sure resonated from top to bottom with the current brass. Still, I think the enigmatic owner of the horse shoes overreacted quite a bit in response to the loss against the Bills on the Colts opening game of the preseason. Luckily for us we haven't been hit as hard as other teams with a rash of injuries. I have never been a fan of the preseason or for playing the starters for any amount of extensive time in meaningless games. For the better part of a decade the Colts had been perennial bottom feeders of the preseason, and winners of at least 10 games or more when the games really counted. The Detroit Lions on the other hand win most of their preseason games yet fail to translate that into anything of notice in the regular season. That shows that what you do in the preseason really doesn't matter. Preseason is nothing more than a dress rehearsal for starters and an "audition" for those who want to make the team. Nothing for us to get excited about.
That said, there is a lot of excitement around here regarding the team's stellar play over the last two games they've played. The Colts looked very good against the Eli Manning led Giants on national TV and equally good against a solid looking Browns team the following Saturday. I for one just don't believe in getting overjoyed in any preseason action because well, it's the "preseason." Teams don't normally show their hands on either side of the ball during this time and there's really no way of gauging how good your team is (Or your opponents) because of it. Teams don't open up their playbooks until the regular season so as not to give their opponents anything to dissect when they meet on game day of the regular season.
Truthfully, we will all know how good the Colts are when they play the Niners in week 3 and the Seahawks in week 5. Those two teams are arguably the best franchises in football and are considered early SB favorites by many. After that the only teams on their schedule I think will give the Colts problems would be the Rams, Texans, Broncos, and Bengals. Yes I said the Rams. The NFC West is easily the most competitive division in football with all 4 of those teams fielding the league's stingiest defenses. The Rams however, have made some very nice additions on both sides of the ball thanks to having two 1st round draft picks for two years in a row (One courtesy of RG3). They just might be the fastest team in the league on both offense and defense. Tavon Austin gets my early vote for OROY.
Most critics are counting the Ravens out of the picture due to the losses of HOFers Ray Lewis and Ed Reed. Despite the free agent/retirement losses the Ravens suffered, I feel they will be even better this year than they were last year. If you watched the Ravens last year, Ray Lewis was a shell of himself as his best days were clearly behind him. Same for Ed Reed. Current GM Ozzie Newsome knew this and has brought in pieces that upgrade both positions those two previously occupied. Michael Huff is the new Safety. Although he's not the hitter that Reed was, he's clearly a better cover safety. In fact, the Raiders switched him to CB last year due to injuries at the position and he more than held his own. Teams with athletic TEs won't find the mismatches they are accustomed to when facing the Ravens secondary. Daryl Smith is the new Mike LB for the Ravens and has been getting rave reviews so far. Factor in the signing of Elvis Dumervil and the Ravens look to be as formidable as they were last year. The only question mark is who will fill Anquan Boldin's huge shoes?
Last year I picked the Colts to make it to the playoffs and didn't flinch or take any drugs beforehand to come up with that prediction. I also said that if the Colts defense ever reached the top 15 or better and stayed there consistently in the rankings they would go on to the SB. Well they never reached that plateau and thus were eliminated in the 1st round of the playoffs. This year I am taking things a step further and predicting that the Colts will indeed reach and surpass that defensive ranking and reach the SB barring any catastrophic injuries. Coach Chuck Pagano has his "monster" now. It is fully grown and ready to prowl.