According to NFL Network’s Cynthia Frelund, using advanced analytics, the Indianapolis Colts are projected to win the AFC’s fewest games with 5.6 total wins during the 2023 season:
Win Total: under 6.5 (+105)
Make Playoffs: +320
Win Division: +550
Win Conference: +8000
Win Super Bowl: +12500
Should the rookie QBs drafted in the first round all be playing by the time of their matchups, we would get QB2 versus QB3 twice — potentially as soon as Week 2. In between those two games, Anthony Richardson and the Colts travel to Carolina (Week 9), setting up a potential QB1 versus QB3 showdown.
Here’s how the win totals for each respective AFC team were calculated:
“Here’s how to read these win projections: Using the projected 53-man rosters as of May 11, I ran 100,000 simulations for all 272 regular-season games. (A quick note: Barring injuries, which are typically the biggest source of uncertainty, I have made roster projections using the best information available. It’s May, for goodness’ sake, so you should check back for the updated versions of these win-total projections just before the season starts.) These simulations yielded a projected win total for each team, which, thanks to the multitude of factors involved, is not always a round number. The top seven teams in each conference are my projected playoff participants.”
Now, such a low win total for the Colts is not completely out of the question.
After all, the Colts had one of the league’s worst records last season, finishing at 4-12-1.
While he has immense ability and potential, Indianapolis will also likely be featuring rookie #4 overall pick Anthony Richardson very early in the 2023 campaign—who’s about to turn just 21 years old and has limited starting experience. There will be initial growing pains, particularly in the passing game.
That being said, the improvement at starting quarterback—especially regarding Richardson’s upgraded athleticism and arm strength, as well as at head coach (where new Colts head coach Shane Steichen should replace the wholly inexperienced interim man Jeff Saturday along the sidelines) should be very significant this upcoming season.
The Colts should be closer to 7 wins, and I’d still be surprised if they are the worst team in the AFC when it’s all said and done. The team’s talent is better than its overall record last year—especially with the two big upgrades already this offseason.