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Power Rankings Week 10: Could kicking issues boot the Colts out of a playoff spot?

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NFL: Indianapolis Colts at Pittsburgh Steelers Philip G. Pavely-USA TODAY Sports

In this week’s power rankings, the Colts saw a slight drop in their standings as they lost a tough road game without two of their most important offensive pieces able to contribute. Jacoby Brissett’s injury and T.Y. Hilton’s absence made this game a tough one to overcome, but it was Adam Vinatieri and the kicking team that hammered the nail in the coffin on this game. Vinatieri shanked a potentially game winning field goal to seal an ugly all-around performance that seemed like a running competition to see which team could turn the ball over the most.

In terms of their standings in the league, this moves the Colts out of first in the AFC South and puts the pressure on to perform with Brissett very possibly sidelined for the next week or so. How did this game impact the Colts in the power rankings? Let’s take a look:


ESPN has the Colts at 12th.

The Colts, who are relying on the running game, have not been a big downfield passing team under coach Frank Reich. Their 10.7 yards per reception is tied with two other teams for 25th in the NFL. T.Y. Hilton (11.3 yards), Zach Pascal (16.9 yards) and Eric Ebron (13.8 yards) are the only players with at least 10 receptions who averaging more than the team average. The passing game under Reich is based on quicker throws and a lot of underneath crossing routes.

USA Today has the Colts at 11th.

Rough Sunday. They dropped from AFC’s No. 2 seed to sixth, saw their QB suffer a knee injury and can’t count on Adam Vinatieri at this point.

NFL.com has the Colts at 14th.

This season, the Colts learned how to survive -- and thrive -- without Andrew Luck. On Sunday, they had to get by without Jacoby Brissett, Luck’s successor, who went down with a knee injury in the second quarter against the Steelers. On Monday, Brissett was diagnosed with a sprained MCL, and his status for Week 10 is unclear. Brian Hoyer played well overall in Brissett’s place, and he would have been a figure worthy of celebration in Indy on Monday morning, had Adam Vinatieri not missed wide, wide, wide left on his 43-yard attempt with the Colts down 2 points and 1:11 to play. Frank Reich can continue to spin positive all he wishes, but Vinatieri -- who also had a PAT try blocked on Sunday, giving him an NFL-worst five missed PAT tries -- has become a liability in his 24th season. And when you’re a team seemingly as addicted to playing games decided by a field goal or less as the Colts are, well, that’s a problem.

Yahoo! Sports has the Colts at 15th.

Brian Hoyer played well, but the Jacoby Brissett injury is a potential problem. I don’t assume Brissett plays through an MCL sprain this weekend, despite the optimistic words Monday. The good news is the Colts get the Dolphins next. The big question is whether Brissett will be ready by Nov. 21 and a huge showdown against the Texans.

Bleacher Report has the Colts at 12th.

That the Indianapolis Colts lost at Pittsburgh when Adam Vinatieri’s last-second field goal sailed wide left was bad.

The knee injury suffered by starting quarterback Jacoby Brissett in the game could be much, much worse.

Per John Breech of CBS Sports, Colts head coach Frank Reich indicated the injury is likely a knee sprain (possibly the MCL), although further testing will be required in order to determine its exact severity.

Losing Brissett for an extended period would be a brutal blow to a Colts team that already saw Andrew Luck retire suddenly in the offseason. Veteran backup Brian Hoyer filled in for Brissett against the Steelers just fine, but there’s only so many times a team can go to that well before it dries up.

The schedule at least cut the Colts a bit of a break. Indy has a massive showdown looming with the Houston Texans on November 24, but in the interim, the team has a pair of winnable games against the one-win Dolphins and Jacksonville Jaguars.

”The Colts have been a great story this year,” Davenport said. “But you have to wonder how many more injuries this team can sustain before it reaches the breaking point. It doesn’t help that while the Colts keep losing prominent players, the Texans are playing as well as they have all season long.”


AFC South Rivals

Texans

ESPN: 8

USA Today: 5

NFL.com: 9

Yahoo!: 11

B/R: 8

Jaguars

ESPN: 22

USA Today: 20

NFL.com: 20

Yahoo!: 17

B/R: 20

Titans

ESPN: 20

USA Today: 24

NFL.com: 23

Yahoo!: 22

B/R: 23