Welcome to SB Nation FanPulse, a survey of fans across the NFL powered by SurveyMonkey. As the season kicks off in just a few weeks, each week, we’ll send 32 polls to 100+ plugged in fans from each team. Colts fans, sign up HERE to join FanPulse.
The Indianapolis Colts are preparing to head to Pittsburgh, where the team has had nearly zero success in decades, to take on the Steelers for their Week 9 matchup this Sunday.
The team is coming off of a hard-fought, ugly win against the Denver Broncos in which the offense struggled, the defense stood up again, and scoring was at a premium for both teams. This week, the Colts take on a Steelers squad that sits at 3-4, but has a top-tier defense that is keeping them in games despite their opponents.
Aside from their Week 1 drubbing at the hands of the New England Patriots, the Steelers have lost their other three games by a combined 9 points. Additionally, their wins have been by an average of more than 14 points.
The Colts have a tall task ahead of them, especially with the news of T.Y. Hilton being out for an expected three, to four weeks. With that, the Colts need the confidence level of their fans to match what they have in that locker room.
This week, let’s start with how Colts’ fans feel about the team heading into Week 9.
Despite such an ugly win, at home, the fan base hasn’t wavered much in the way of confidence in the team. The Colts have had the ability to bounce back this season from ugly games, and even losses, however, they still lack a two-score win under their belt.
Keeping the fan’s high mark of the season in mind, last week the fan base was sitting at 96 percent confidence in the team, but has taken a slight dip this week to 91 percent. This definitely isn’t a major drop, and considering previous weeks in the season — including following losses — it appears as though the fans have found their happy medium with their expectations from week to week.
The fan base has only dropped below 90 percent confidence three times since the end of last season, and may be taking on the personality of the head coach, as Frank Reich prides himself on never being too high, nor too low. The Colts sit at 5-2 right now, and have a defense that can make plays and conceivably handle Mason Rudolph and a banged up backfield to hopefully move to 6-2 and remain in control of the AFC South.
The Colts’ offense will also be facing an opportunistic Steelers’ defense in which they simply cannot afford to allow pressure as they did in Week 8, and will absolutely need to control the ball throughout the game.
Let’s go to the national question of the week which asked “Will the Patriots lose a game, or will the Dolphins win a game first?”
When the Patriots completed a perfect regular season in 2007, and also when the Detroit Lions completed their winless regular season a year later in 2008, one of most repeated sentiments was that it’s more difficult for a team to lose every game, than it is for a team to win every game.
Either way, the chances of either happening is truly astronomical, so it was always just a case of splitting hairs.
This season, however, we legitimately have two teams who could be on opposite ends of having a zero in their final record at the end of the regular season.
How I voted, and I think how most presumed as well, was that it’s just so stinking hard to beat every team you face — regardless of talent level — throughout an entire NFL season. And quite honestly, the results weren’t even close this week.
Fans clearly believe that the Patriots will lose before the Dolphins can get into the win column. 65 percent, to 35 percent of the fans who voted have lost all faith in the Dolphins even after they managed to look competitive against the Steelers in Week 8.
The Patriots have a much more difficult schedule going forward, than the Dolphins have a favorable set of games in their future despite the Dolphins having a pretty easy schedule ahead of them. Clearly the Dolphins are just a special kind of terrible this season, but it’s just as likely that both of these possibilities could happen very soon.
The Dolphins play the New York Jets this Sunday, and the Jets haven’t shown much of anything in the way of being a good team, while the Patriots have the Ravens, Eagles, Cowboys, Texans, and Chiefs over the course of their next five games.