The hype surrounding the Indianapolis Colts this year is a far cry from where it was at the same time last season, when there were Super Bowl hopes and expectations for the team. This year things are pretty quiet, and when there is noise it’s because people are picking the Colts to finish third in the division and go 6-10.
NFL Network analyst Daniel Jeremiah isn’t buying the talk of the Colts being terrible in 2016, however. He recently did a video in which he listed the three most underrated teams in the NFL entering this season, and the Colts were number three. Here’s what he said about Indianapolis, according to Colts.com:
“This is a team last year, we seem to forget, a team that beat the Super Bowl champion Denver Broncos, that took the Carolina Panthers to overtime, that went 8-8 without Andrew Luck for the majority of the season. I think they’re very underrated. They ran this division for a very long time. I think they get back to dominance in this division again this year; they win the AFC South.”
Ahead of them on the list were two Colts opponents in 2016: the Chicago Bears (number one) and the San Diego Chargers (number two).
I think Jeremiah makes a very good point when talking about the Colts as underrated, as they have taken a lot of criticism and have been met by a lot of disappointing expectations leading into the 2016 season. It’s puzzling because of the fact that Andrew Luck is back, and in his first three years in the NFL he helped carry the Colts to three playoff appearances. Again, it’s all about the expectations for Luck in 2016, and there’s more reason to think he’ll return to form (based on his first three years) than that he’ll struggle again (based on just seven games last year).
Luck returning is the single biggest “addition” (if we can call it that) of any AFC South team this offseason, and it should put the Colts very much in the mix - perhaps even making them the favorites entering the year. And if Luck stays healthy in 2016, there’s a very, very real chance that the Colts can make the playoffs once again. Considering all of the low expectations for the Colts right now, I’d say that certainly qualifies as being an underrated team right now.