With back-to-back wins over talented teams, the Colts have slowly begun to get national attention as the real deal. They may not be the flashiest team, but they are deep, well-coached, and all-in. With a very favorable schedule ahead of them and some star players set to make their return soon, this is a team on the rise. Here’s where they stack up in this week’s power rankings.
The Colts have survived -- so far -- the sudden retirement of quarterback Andrew Luck back in April by having a complete roster instead of one that depends on a player or two. They’re in sole possession of first place of the AFC South after back-to-back victories over playoff-caliber teams in Kansas City and Houston. The schedule has shifted in the Colts’ favor, as their next four opponents have a combined record of 7-19. Three of those four games are at home. Jacoby Brissett, who replaced Luck as the starter, is third in the NFL in touchdown passes with 14.
In a huge showdown against a division rival, Jacoby Brissett played perhaps the best game of his career while showing the rest of the league that the Colts are more than a running team. Brissett threw for 326 yards and four touchdowns without an interception, outdueling Deshaun Watson in a 30-23 win over the Texans. The win moves the 4-2 Colts into sole possession of first place in the AFC South as we near the season’s midpoint -- pretty much a best-case scenario for an organization that was rocked by the retirement of Andrew Luck on the eve of Week 1. Brissett wasn’t the only Colts player who brought his A-game on Sunday. Zach Pascal scored a touchdown and set a career high with 106 yards receiving, Eric Ebron had an end-zone grab that was as good as any you’ll see, and Darius Leonard punctuated his return from a three-game absence with a contest-icing interception. The Colts are good.
Jacoby Brissett has 14 touchdowns, three interceptions and a 101 passer rating. That passer rating ranks seventh among quarterbacks with at least 200 attempts. The Colts traded the Patriots receiver Phillip Dorsett for Brissett, and it’s looking like one of the steals of this century.
There’s little question that the undefeated New England Patriots are the team to beat in the AFC. But when Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes went down with a dislocated kneecap, the title of second-best team in the conference became up for grabs.
Sunday against the Houston Texans, the Indianapolis Colts (who beat Mahomes and the Chiefs two weeks ago) made a pretty good case that they should slot behind the Pats in the conference.
On a day when the Colts struggled to run the ball, it was quarterback Jacoby Brissett who carried the team to victory. Brissett had his best game of what’s quickly becoming a breakout season, topping 300 passing yards and throwing four touchdown passes.
Gagnon isn’t sure Brissett can repeat those numbers every week. But he is sure that these Colts are for real.
”If Jacoby Brissett is becoming a franchise quarterback,” he wrote, “the Colts could be playing deep into January. But even if Brissett’s standout Week 7 performance was an anomaly, Indy has the depth and talent to at least play games in the new year. They’ve proven that time and again, and intangibly they’re mentally tough and extremely well-coached. Hard not to like this team.”
Their next four opponents are a collective 7-19 leading up to rematch with Texans in Houston. Indy could have AFC South in a stranglehold by then.
AFC South Rivals
USA Today: 9
Bleacher Report: 11
USA Today: 20
Bleacher Report: 22
USA Today: 23
Bleacher Report: 24