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SB Nation Reacts: Confidence is High for the Colts Entering the 2022 Campaign in Week 1

There’s real reason for optimism in Indianapolis...

Indianapolis Colts v Houston Texans Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images

Indianapolis Colts fans have spoken, and it appears that Horseshoe Nation is fairly confident that their team will win the AFC South again for the first time since 2014:

The Colts have been aided by some key subtractions from the 2x reigning AFC South Champions, the Tennessee Titans, who lost both A.J. Brown and Harold Landry for 2022 in the same offseason. Indianapolis has been the more talented team on paper since at least last season, but it has to finally show up in the results column—as another seasonal sweep by Tennessee would be disastrous for the Colts’ ultimately reclaiming the division crown.

Despite the letdown of last year’s stunning late season collapse, Colts fans are still very confident that the team is headed in the right direction under the leadership of general manager Chris Ballard and head coach Frank Reich—who are facing a big year in Indianapolis, maybe even a ‘make or break’ showing in the latter’s case:

The Colts have a number of stars on both sides of the ball, but have no division titles and little playoff wins to show for it under this current regime. The big offseason additions of Matt Ryan, Stephon Gilmore, and Yannick Ngakoue should shore up some holes for Indianapolis at many of the team’s most critical positions. This is a roster that simply got better.

However, it starts with winning the AFC South, and then thinking about a deep AFC playoff push.

Colts fans thought ‘The Maniac’ might be a medical marvel, returning to the field for game days with less than two weeks of practice time. However, the Colts already ruled Shaquille Leonard out for Sunday’s opener against the Houston Texans:

That being said, Shaq could be back as soon as Week 2 at the Jacksonville Jaguars given how well he’s progressing from offseason back surgery, even in limited practice time. The Colts may have also considered the opponent here—where a win should still be projected.

The Texans aren’t necessarily a pushover (and nothing in the AFC South should be declared a given after last year’s season finale upset at the hands of the rebuilding Jacksonville Jaguars), but this is a game the Colts should win handedly even without the defense’s best player roaming sideline-to-sideline and making plays.

‘Ding dong, the witch is dead’. It may be a little early for Halloween, but the Colts hope to snap one of the franchise’s more horrific streaks—as the team hasn’t won a regular season opener since 2013 which is quite a shocking feat (*and not in a good way):

If the Colts can’t win this opener—even on the road, against a rebuilding Houston Texans squad than this streak may not be snapped for quite a while. Longtime veteran great T.Y. Hilton is a free agent and won’t be playing “at the stadium he owns,” but it’s time for some other Colts to make their mark and get some early momentum to begin the year—grabbing the W.

Stay tuned for our SB Nation Reaction questions for Week 2 coming soon.

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