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The Colts have the right makeup for a deep playoff run

Indianapolis Colts v Tennessee Titans Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

The Colts are in the playoffs for the first time since 2014 and all indications are that this team is capable of making a real run. Expectations for the Colts have been consistently low all season and all they’ve done is defy them.

Frank Reich, who has talked about how the team wouldn’t pay attention to the outside noise, held up a number 32 in his post-game locker room speech and talked about how national media outlets had ranked the Colts dead last at the beginning of the season. The Colts know that they have been battling against the perception that they aren’t enough all season long.

They are brash and young, talented and raw. Their defense can take the ball away and their offensive line wants to punish anyone who comes across their path, and some who are simply close to it. They have a versatile group of running backs, a dangerous wide receiver in T.Y. Hilton, and a tight end in Eric Ebron who has more receiving touchdowns than any other in the NFL this season.

They have a quarterback who is one of the best in the league and who still hasn’t peaked. This is a team who hasn’t yet met their potential. They are dangerous, focused, and too young and foolish to know they shouldn’t be ready for this yet.

Mostly what they are is committed. Frank Reich has made sure of that. They’re committed to each other and to the idea of finishing what they started. Their goal over the last 9 weeks was to go 1-0 every week. That goal hasn’t changed, although the benchmark along the way--reach the postseason--has been met.

What remains is a tough stretch against the best the AFC has to offer, and that road starts in Houston. The question is, what will it take to make that journey and finish with a Lombardi trophy? Frank Reich has made that trip recently, and talked about what the Colts need to do to get there.

“You know, I think there’s a little bit more of--what’d I’d say is the needles adjust slightly. For instance, the importance of running and stopping the run. The importance of the turnover battle. The importance of penalties or lack thereof. I think the needle gets pushed and the emphasis gets pushed. I think we’ve proven that we can win a game throwing 50 times, but that gets harder to do in playoff--in my experience--that gets harder to do in playoff football. We can do it if we have to, but you want to establish dominance and physicality up front on both sides of the ball.”

The run game is a critical part of winning football in the playoffs. That balance keeps defenses from being able to tee off on the quarterback and lets the playbook stay open and unpredictable. The Colts have rushed for more than 100 yards in 8 games this season, and they’ve won 7 of them. The lone loss was against the Jets in a game where the defense had one of their worst performances and the offense was missing T.Y. Hilton and Jack Doyle.

Winning the battle in the trenches will be critical in every matchup for this team to progress. The good news is that the players are focused and know the stakes.

They will be ready to go, and Frank Reich will have a solid plan for how to attack the Texans. This team will show up prepared on Saturday and they understand what it takes to be successful not just in this first game, but all the way to the end. Get excited Colts fans, this team has something special.