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.
This is not how the Indianapolis Colts wanted to be entering their Week 11 matchup with the Jacksonville Jaguars. While the Colts still sit a game ahead of the Tennessee Titans, and a game behind the Houston Texans in the AFC South standings, the Colts have been going downhill over the past three weeks.
Jacoby Brissett is back in the lineup for Week 11, which is a huge lift for the offense, but there are several other aspects of the team that aren’t exactly hitting their late-season stride at this point. To be perfectly honest, the Colts’ fan base has had enough of these performances, and they’re voicing their frustrations in this week’s FanPulse surveys.
Following their embarrassing loss to the Miami Dolphins in Week 10, Colts’ fans look to have lost all faith in the direction of the organization — at least for this season. So much, in fact, that the numbers reflect the lowest level of confidence of the season, and by a considerable margin. The previous lowest level was following Week 4 where the confidence level sat at 52 percent. This week, the new low for the Colts is sitting at 39 percent.
You can’t really blame them either. Of course you can argue that it’s an over-dramatic reaction to a terrible loss, but it’s just as easily argued that this looks to be turning into a trend as well.
I mean, I think a large amount of Colts fans are reacting to an organization that publicly spoke about how the locker room “would be watching” in terms of the amount of accountability players would receive from the staff and front office. However, Adam Vinatieri is literally the worst statistical kicker in the league and he’s still on the roster purely due to his history in the league. Brian Hoyer is likely the worst backup in the league as well, yet, he’s still the backup for some reason.
It’s fair for Colts’ fans to be questioning the viability of those statements from Chris Ballard right now, especially given the trajectory of the team heading into Week 11. We’re all still fans, but the rose-colored glasses, and total trust in those who are running the personnel decisions with this roster have been largely eliminated from the equation.
Now for the national questions in this week’s survey.
There are some really good teams in the league right now. Neither the Dolphins or the Cincinnati Bengals are one of those teams — let’s just get that out of the way right off the bat.
However, the San Francisco 49ers, especially their defense, the Green Bay Packers, New Orleans Saints, Seattle Seahawks, and the Kansas City Chiefs as well as the New England Patriots are some of the cream of the NFL crop this season.
Of all of the upcoming games in the above imaging, I chose the 49ers and Saints as my choice for the most exciting game left of the season. But, after watching the 49ers and the Seahawks in Week 10, that Week 17 rematch may be my hindsight choice given the possible playoff implications that could be weighing on that result.
Several others chose that game as well, however, it came in a distant second place to another game. The Week 14 AFC heavyweight bout between the Chiefs and Patriots took the win with nearly 35 percent of the votes. This one will also likely hold some playoff implications, and depending on if the Chiefs can correct their slight slip as of late, possibly a bye week hanging in the balance — especially given the remainder of the Patriots’ schedule.
There’s little doubt that at least the four games not involving the Bengals and Dolphins will be some great football for everyone to take in, in the post-Thanksgiving part of the schedule.
Now, we get into our last national question of the week.
Many are wondering how the Los Angeles Rams have fallen off so quickly from just a year ago. Their offense looks like it did the year before their trip to the Super Bowl, and they aren’t doing much of anything to change it from week to week. The Carolina Panthers are still interesting as Kyle Allen is leading them as the unlikely quarterback for the season, along with Christian McCaffrey becoming a top running back in the league.
The Steelers were hoping to ride their defense into the playoffs, but Thursday night’s loss to the Cleveland Browns looks to have put a major damper on those aspirations. But, after being the butt of EVERYONE’S jokes for the past year-and-a-half, the Oakland Raiders are looking pretty stinking good right now.
Their offense has been improving all year, their defense has risen from being a major disappointment, to being a group in which the youth and talent that was seen when they built the unit has begun to take shape, and Jon Gruden isn’t looking like such a dummy all of the sudden.
They’ve won four of their last six games, and have a very favorable remaining schedule with five of their final opponents sitting below the .500 mark at the moment. They aren’t great by any means, but they do have one of the most favorable schedules remaining amongst the teams listed above.
One thing for sure, is that the final seven weeks of this season are going to be very fun to watch as the playoff picture begins to round into shape.