The Colts, coming off a road victory against a top team in the NFC, the Arizona Cardinals, headed back home to face another tough team fighting for a play off spot in the Raiders. However, despite almost the entire offensive line, quarter back and several defensive playmakers returning to the team from the Reserve/COVID-19 list the Colts lost a close one score game.
The Colts sit at 9-7, and are currently in the 6th seed in the AFC. They have now lost the chance to win the AFC South after the Titans clinched the division with a win over the Dolphins. The national media have moved the Colts down the power rankings board after their loss to the Raiders. They had previously featured regularly inside the top 5. As an nine win team, the Colts are firmly in playoff conversations and need only one more win to secure a playoff spot but a loss to the Jaguars on Sunday will knock them out of the playoffs all together. Here is how the Colts stack up in the week 18 power rankings.
ESPN has the Colts at 12.
The Colts should be thankful that they have the NFL’s leading rusher in Jonathan Taylor (1,734 yards) because he is a major reason they are a win from making the playoffs. Wentz, whom the Colts gave up a first-round pick to acquire from Philadelphia last offseason, has lacked the steadiness to show they can win with him long term. Wentz looked great in the fourth quarter against Arizona on Christmas night but has issues with overthrows and is too often taking risks that still cause uneasiness.
NFL.com has the Colts at 11.
A change in the NFL’s COVID-19 protocols last week allowed Carson Wentz to play on Sunday against the Raiders, but the quarterback wasn’t much of a help to his team in a disappointing last-second loss. Wentz delivered an uneven performance that once again leaves questions about how much Indy can trust its passer in the crucible of the playoffs. The Colts need to get there first, of course: Their simplest route is with a win in Jacksonville. Potentially disturbing fun fact: The Colts haven’t won a road game against the Jaguars in more than seven years.
CBS Sports has the Colts at 13.
Losing at home to the Raiders is not a good look for a team that was riding high after two impressive victories. Carson Wentz wasn’t good enough.
USA Today has the Colts at 6.
RB Jonathan Taylor’s remarkable season continues as he’s now displaced Hall of Famer Edgerrin James with the most rushing yards (1,734) in one season in franchise history and Hall of Famer Lenny Moore for the most TDs (20) in any Colts campaign.
Bleacher Report has the Colts at 11.
Entering Week 17, there wasn’t a hotter team in the NFL than the Indianapolis Colts. The team had won seven of eight to get back in the playoff hunt. Running back Jonathan Cooper was garnering MVP buzz. An opportunistic defense was making big plays week after week.
Everything was falling into place…until Sunday.
Now, it isn’t all doom and gloom for the Colts after Sunday’s loss to the Raiders. If Indy beats the lowly Jaguars next week, it is in the postseason tournament.
But head coach Frank Reich admitted that he was taken a bit aback by his team’s lackluster effort at home against Las Vegas in a game where the Colts could have clinched a postseason spot.
“We’re like anyone else. If you don’t come and just lose a little bit of an edge, if you just let your guard down just a little bit, you can get beat in this league,” Reich told reporters. “So I didn’t think that was going to happen today. I thought we’d come out and have the edge that was needed to finish it out this week and to go in with a ton of momentum next week, but we’ll have to prepare this week. No givens next week.”
And lest you think that next week is a “gimme,” consider this: The Colts have lost five straight to the Jaguars in Jacksonville. For reals.
Pro Football Network has the Colts at 10.
The Raiders made Carson Wentz try to beat them, and he obliged their request. The Colts struggled on third down, and Wentz performed poorly throughout the game, which is worrisome considering Indy got most of their impact starters back from the reserve/COVID-19 list before kickoff.
I thought when Jonathan Taylor tallied north of 100 yards rushing we could just go ahead and give the Colts the auto-win, but I guess that would be a question to ask the nerds. This is still a really good football team, but they’re now battling to make sure they remain in the Wild Card hunt next week.
Luckily, the “get-right” Jaguars are up next for them.
Yahoo Sports has the Colts at 11.
Sunday wasn’t a good loss, but it also wasn’t the end of the world. If the Colts beat the 2-14 Jaguars, they’re in the playoffs. The loss to the Raiders really wouldn’t cost them anything if they handle business in the finale. But it is hard to trust them in the playoffs after they’ve blown so many winnable games.