According to NFL Network’s Cynthia Frelund, the Indianapolis Colts are her ‘sleeper pick’ to win this season’s Super Bowl Championship:
A Super Bowl sleeper pick in the middle of the summer?! Absolutely and @cfrelund is going with the @Colts pic.twitter.com/40247JEAg5— NFL Total Access (@NFLTotalAccess) June 29, 2022
Of course, a start would be the Colts winning the AFC South again, which the franchise has not accomplished since 2014 (and has the longest current drought of any AFC South squad).
That being said, there’s real reasons for optimism in Indianapolis right now.
The Colts already had a fairly well balanced roster and with the big offseason additions of starting quarterback Matt Ryan, pass rusher Yannick Ngakoue, and cornerback Stephon Gilmore, it’s hard not to see how they significantly improved this offseason.
Ryan should provide much needed leadership, consistency, and accuracy to the Colts starting quarterback position that was sorely lacking last season.
Meanwhile, Ngakoue provides a consistent impact speed edge rusher to further complement All-Pro DeForest Buckner’s interior push—and a natural as new defensive coordinator Gus Bradley’s ‘LEO’, lining up ‘wide-9’ to get after the opposing quarterback.
Then you have Gilmore, who should provide a #1 veteran cornerback presence with ball skills and give the Colts secondary a linchpin in steady, reliable coverage—often lining up across from the opposing team’s best receiver.
Not to mention, the Colts have a number of rookies who could immediately contribute including wideout Alec Pierce, tight end Jelani Woods, and safety Nick Cross among others.
The Colts defense truly has a chance to ascend into a Top 3 overall unit this season, but their ultimate team success may come down to just how much Ryan has left in the tank and whether their passing game can do enough to make their offense legitimately well-balanced and dangerous (to pair with First-Team All-Pro workhorse Jonathan Taylor and the dominant ground game).
Given what’s already transpired this offseason, hoisting an elusive Lombardi Trophy isn’t all that unreasonable. The Colts shouldn’t be currently considered a favorite by any means, but it’s not completely out of the question either that Indy could eventually emerge as a potential darkhorse. Winning the AFC South though should be the start.