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NFL Power Rankings Week 5: The Colts Take A Small Step Forward

NFL: Indianapolis Colts at Denver Broncos Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

The Colts continued their 2022 season on the road in a Thursday night prime time game against an AFC rival, the Denver Broncos, who were 2-2 coming off a loss against the Las Vegas Raiders. The Colts managed to get some key players back from injury but also were without three key starters in Jonathan Taylor, Julian Blackmon and Shaquille Leonard.

The Colts sit at 2-2-1, and are currently second in the AFC South. The Colts managed to grab their second win of the year and needed to with the Tennessee Titans beating the Washington Commanders, they now sit first in and above the Colts in the AFC South title.

The national media have moved the Colts up slightly in the power rankings board after their win against the Broncos. Here is how the Colts stack up in the week 5 power rankings.

ESPN has the Colts at 25.

It’s becoming a tired storyline, but it remains true: The Colts’ stunningly poor offensive line performance is undermining everything good about the team. The Colts are currently 31st in pass block win rate and 26th in run block win rate. Even setting aside the struggles of Matt Ryan, it’s difficult to assess anything about the offense when the offensive line isn’t functional. Meanwhile, the Colts’ defense is getting better and the team’s unproven pass-catchers are starting to step up. On top of that, the AFC South is, well, the AFC South. But will it matter if the line doesn’t get stabilized? has the Colts at 28.

When it was over, the Colts were celebrating in Denver on Thursday night — even if the result didn’t quite make sense. Per The Athletic, Quenton Nelson had this to say after the 12-9 overtime conquest: “A win’s a win, but I’m kinda also like … how?” The Colts can thank their defense for keeping the team above water during a brutal opening stretch for an offense that has averaged a league-worst 13.8 points per game. The prime-time star was Stephon Gilmore, the veteran cover man who intercepted Russell Wilson to thwart one red-zone drive and broke up an end-zone pass in the final seconds to ice the game. Ugly wins count just as much as pretty ones, but Matt Ryan and Co. will need to be far better to move Indy out of the pretender category.

CBS Sports has the Colts at 19.

They are 2-2-1 but hardly look like a playoff team. Maybe the come-from-behind victory at Denver will get them going - especially on offense.

USA Today has the Colts at 24.

QB Matt Ryan’s 11 fumbles are the most ever by a player through five games since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger. Fortunately for Indianapolis, he’s only lost three of them. Unfortunately, Ryan’s also served up a league-high seven picks.

Yahoo Sports has the Colts at 19.

If Russell Wilson saw K.J. Hamler on that last play, the focus of Thursday night’s brutally ugly game would have been how poorly the Colts are playing. But the Colts pulled off a 12-9 win and all of a sudden, with the Jaguars stumbling, the division is still right there for the taking. But Indianapolis has to improve. A lot.

Bleacher Report has the Colts at 17.

Winning is all that matters. Teams don’t get anything for style points. While the Indianapolis Colts clawed their way back to .500 by outlasting the Broncos in Denver on Thursday night, they remain a hard team to get excited about. Five weeks into the Matt Ryan era, Indianapolis is averaging 13.8 points per game. Ryan struggled in a big way against the Broncos, throwing two interceptions, absorbing six sacks and posting a passer rating of 60.1.

After the contest, Ryan applauded his teammates—but allowed that the Colts have to improve. “We need to play better for sure, but I’m proud of the guys,” Ryan said. “Wins are what we need. We’re right in the mix. ... I thought the two drives at the end showed a lot of guys. You just keep battling—and it helps when your defense is shutting them down, too.” Indy needs to figure things out. Its next two games are against a pair of AFC South rivals in the Jaguars and Titans, both of whom the Colts have already lost to this season.

Pro Football Network has the Colts at 21.

The Indianapolis Colts offense is a disaster. They were 31st in EPA per play through four weeks and could only muster 12 points on Thursday Night Football. Matt Ryan has a chance at the triple crown (sacks, fumbles, and interceptions), and they don’t have any consistent receiving options outside of Michael Pittman Jr. and rookie Alec Pierce.

However, their defense has been outstanding in the fourth quarter, not allowing a single point in the fourth quarter so far in 2022. They need to figure something out offensively before it’s too late. Luckily for them, the rest of the AFC South – and most of the NFL – hasn’t woken up yet. At 2-2-1, they’re still very much in the mix.