It seems all offseason, we've been hearing about how the Indianapolis Colts roster really isn't that good. We've seen plenty of people predict another season around .500 or slightly above, with some (PFF) predicting much worse. We've seen plenty of people not consider the Colts the AFC South favorites or the projected winner. So is it possible that they're actually being overrated?
That's what the Sporting News' Vinnie Iyer suggests, as he included the Colts on his list of the NFL's most overrated teams. To be fair, he based this list off of Vegas' projected win totals for teams, which has the Colts at 9.5 wins for 2016 - higher than many seem to predict. And he only ranks eleven overrated teams, with the Colts coming in at number eleven.
Does Andrew Luck make the difference of two wins? Sure, they have their franchise QB back and it should help every aspect of their offense, but overall it's been a quiet offseason where the the key losses have outweighed the additions. Indy is a whole new brand of enigmatic in Chuck Pagano's second chance, making the team bust or boom in the standings.
If the question really comes down to whether Luck makes the difference of two wins, the answer is easy: absolutely. A healthy Andrew Luck playing well is worth several wins, as we saw in 2012, 2013, and 2014. In all three years, the Colts roster - while solid at times - was not an eleven-win team or playoff contender without Luck. Iyer's question is whether Luck is enough to get the Colts from their eight wins last year to ten this year, and I think the answer is absolutely. If everything comes down to the quarterback, I think it's a no-brainer.
But there's more to the story. Iyer mentioned that the Colts' "key losses have outweighed their additions" this offseason, though I'm not sure that's exactly accurate. They lost Coby Fleener, but they re-signed Dwayne Allen (ok, so that's not really an 'addition' per se, but you get the idea). The Colts lost Jerrell Freeman but they drafted Ryan Kelly. The Colts lost Dwight Lowery but they signed Patrick Robinson. You can see that, while some of the positions shifted, the Colts really had as many key additions as they had key subtractions. So yes, some positions may be weaker (like inside linebacker, tight end, or safety), but some positions will be stronger as well (like cornerback and center). In other words, I'm not sure it's entirely fair to diss the Colts' boring offseason by simply saying that their key losses outweigh their additions. It may not be as busy of an offseason as we're used to, but it was a solid one.
Iyer really isn't suggesting something radical whatsoever. He ranks the Colts eleventh on a list of overrated teams, which means that they are actually closer to the middle of the pack than the most overrated teams. He's also simply arguing that the Colts might - might - not be good enough to win ten games this year, which I don't think anyone would argue. There's certainly a reasonable possibility that the Colts don't win double-digit games. But there's also a very reasonable possibility that they do, and that's mainly because of their quarterback coming back.