clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

ESPN makes five predictions for Colts' 2016 season

NFL: Indianapolis Colts at Carolina Panthers Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

On Tuesday, the countdown to the 2016 NFL season reached a new milestone, as it marked 100 days until the regular season opener between the Broncos and Panthers.

To mark the occasion, ESPN released a list of 100 predictions "that will frame the 2016 season." Five of those predictions were about the Colts:

23. Colts QB Andrew Luck will sign a contract extension worth between $23 million to $23.5 million per year sometime before the start of training camp. Luck is the franchise and the team needs to lock him up sooner than later. -- John Clayton

This one is perhaps as likely to come true as any of the 100 predictions made by ESPN. Andrew Luck will soon receive a massive extension that is expected to be somewhere between $23 and $25 million per season, and the Colts hope to have the deal done by training camp. Initially, owner Jim Irsay had said he hoped to have the deal done by July 4, but he admitted that was more of a guideline than a hard-set rule. It's fair to think a deal can get done by camp, however, and there's really no reason for it not to happen.

37. Colts offensive line coach Joe Philbin is back in his comfort zone and will produce immediate results in Indy, revamping what has been the team's weakest link. -- Mike Wells

We've heard a lot about Joe Philbin this offseason, so it's no surprise to see him make a list like this. The addition of center Ryan Kelly alone will certainly lead to an improved offensive line this year. The hope with Philbin, then, is that some of the other players like Hugh Thornton or Denzelle Good can continue to improve and have solid seasons.

69. A year after failing to top 1,000 yards for the first time since 2010, Frank Gore will surprise some with his play. He's trying to become the first 33-plus-year-old RB to rush for 1,000 yards since 1984. The Colts will scream "Finally!" if Gore does because he'd be their first rusher to eclipse that mark since 2007. -- Mike Wells

Frank Gore was very upset with how the 2015 season went both for him personally and for his team, and that means he's very motivated to bounce back in 2016. He knows the stats - that the Colts haven't had a 1,000 yard rusher since 2007 or a 100-yard rushing game since 2012 - and he wants to break both marks in helping the Colts reach the playoffs and have success. After everything that went wrong a year ago - Luck missing nine games, facing stacked boxes, sub-par offensive line play - Gore still managed 967 yards, so a 1,000 yard season certainly isn't too unrealistic of an expectation this year.

70. Colts rookie RB Josh Ferguson will be drafted in nearly every fantasy league that takes place in August. Indianapolis made little effort to add depth behind Gore, opening the door for the undersized but explosive scat back out of Illinois to emerge as a coveted handcuff. -- Mike Clay

While I have no idea whether Ferguson will be drafted in nearly every fantasy football league, it is true that he has a good shot at making the roster. The Colts signed Robert Turbin and Jordan Todman as free agents and Tyler Varga is returning from injury, but Josh Ferguson is a very interesting option as an undrafted free agent. I wouldn't be surprised whatsoever if he makes the roster, and there's a real possibility he could even become the number two back.

82. Who needs a baseball instructor to teach you how to slide? Not QB Andrew Luck. Luck will finally stop being stubborn and realize it's OK to slide instead of taking unnecessary hits (see early fourth quarter of Week 9 last season). -- Mike Wells

The obsession with Andrew Luck's sliding has reached new levels from many in the Indianapolis media recently, as there's really no way that Luck learning to slide should really make a list of the top 100 predictions for the 2016 season. I'm not saying he shouldn't learn to slide, as there are certainly situations in which he should just slide rather than take a bit hit. But there are other times where it's just the result of playing a violent game and hits will happen. The most important thing for Luck isn't to learn how to slide better but to play smarter, knowing when to protect himself by throwing a ball away or sliding or things like that.

What are some of your predictions for the Colts' 2016 season?