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Shep’s 2023 Colts Predictions: let’s get weird edition

Nobody else is doing this much to predict the future of the Indianapolis Colts


Welcome to the Show

In the lead up to the 2023 NFL draft I published my yearly Draft Leak Conspiracy Report and for the second year in a row I hit on four names. I actually wrote up a fifth Colts draftee in that article but I took seventh round pick Jake Witt’s name out of the article because I didn’t think the Colts (or anyone else) would use a draft pick on the former Upper Peninsula Mr. Basketball, but that’s exactly what they did. Some people will surely roll their eyes and say “sure ya did” and I can’t make those people believe me but I know that I’ve spent the past few months kicking myself for highlighting and deleting Witt’s paragraph (I still remember doing it because I was so torn).

And maybe it was that miss, maybe it was the success I’ve been lucky to have two years in a row, but whatever it was, it made me think “I really need to write more prediction articles” so here we are.

But How Did I Get Here

When considering what I could do to predict the future of the Colts I asked myself several questions. I wondered if sitting down, using all of my knowledge and experience to do an in depth evaluation of the schedule, teams, schemes and players week by week would provide me with better results than pure chance. Then I asked myself, if I could do that, why do I still have a day job? Why am I not making all of my money betting on football? So I decided that my trying to predict the future of the Colts would be a fruitless effort. It was also the off-season and I wanted to write this prediction article either way so I had some time to think about how I was going to do it.

I don’t know what you did with your off-season but I spent mine listening to old Coast to Coast AM with Art Bell episodes everyday at work. I’m listening to them in order and I’m currently in December of 1996. I don’t judge your hobbies but feel free to judge mine. So between my desire to create more prediction articles and the inspiration that an off-season of listening to old radio shows about Bigfoot, UFO’s, Psychics, Chupacabra, Remote Viewing, Exorcism, Reverse Speech and talk of various standoffs between remote militia groups and the ATF, I present to you the weirdest football article you’ll ever read (until I do it again next year).

Art Bell was a man of wealth and taste.

So, from the plains and the great American Midwest, I bid you all good evening, good morning as the case may be, across these many time zones from the Hawaiian Islands, east all the way across this great land to the Caribbean and the U.S. Virgin Islands and south into South America, north to the Pole and worldwide on the internet, this is Stampede Blue and I am Chris Shepherd. Tonight, we have a football article for you unlike any you’ve ever read before. I suggest you buckle up.

Let’s get to it.

Anthony Richardson

Nothing like starting off the predictions with a bang.

We all hope that Anthony Richardson will become a massive success. We’ve all heard about the potential. The hope. The hype. It’s all there but we can’t know what kind of a player Anthony Richardson will be until he’s on the field, right?

Not according to a psychic I found at a metaphysical fair held in the ballroom of a Kansas City casino.

No, seriously.

I went to that.

For this article.

I walked around the conference reading menu boards that detailed what services each psychic offered and I finally found what I was looking for. It was called a pendulum reading. A pendulum reading happens when your psychic of choice holds a crystal attached to a string, you ask yes/no questions (like you would a magic 8 ball) and it supposedly will rotate to the right or left, giving you your yes or no answer. There’s also the chance it does nothing, which means maybe (I think, I’m not really an expert).

I started off the reading by warning the nice witch (not an insult, in this case) sitting in front of me that I was a big football fan and all of the questions I would be asking were related to football and weren’t that serious. She reassured me that if it was important to me, it was important to the universe.

I knew it.

We jumped right in and right away I asked “Is Anthony Richardson going to be a franchise quarterback?”

We sat at a small table in the corner of the ballroom. With her elbows propped up on the table, she held the pendulum in front of her, holding onto the crystal at the bottom as to keep the string taught while she took in the question. Carefully she released the crystal which stayed motionless for a fraction of a second before it started rotating.

I should note that the crystal gave it’s most definitive answer of the reading to this question.

As she looked down at the crystal she looked up at me and with a hesitation that told me she had no idea what a “franchise quarterback” was (and why would she? She’s probably busy practicing arcane rituals during Saturdays and Sundays in the fall. I mean it is the spookiest time of the year).

Unsure the gravity of the news she was about to deliver she looked at me and said simply:


Not the answer we were looking for.

But don’t worry! There’s still hope, maybe the psychic got it wrong? I reached out to a group of remote viewers. If you’re unfamiliar with the idea of remote viewing, it’s too big of a topic to cover here so here’s the Wiki article. Remote viewing, as I understand it, isn’t constrained by time. Allegedly remote viewing teams can predict the outcome of all sorts of future events so when I reached out I was hopeful they could give me some answers.

Instead they somewhat politely told me to go kick rocks.

I think we’ll just have to rely on the psychic.

Jonathan Taylor

For this section of the article it’s important to note that I sat down and talked to the psychic on July 8, 2023. Less than a month before this on June 14th Jonathan Taylor was quoted as saying he wanted to retire a Colt and we were still weeks away from Taylor asking for a trade. As far as I, or anyone else knew when I asked these questions Jonathan Taylor was healthy and planning on playing for the Colts in 2023.

2021 was Jonathan Taylor’s coming out party. He rushed for 1,811 yards and 18 touchdowns, setting franchise records and earning his first rushing title. 2022 was a struggle for the entire team and Taylor wasn’t immune. He struggled with injuries as the team sputtered on the field and eventually the team shut down their star back once the season had been completely lost.

So naturally I wanted to know if Taylor would have a bounce back season and find a high level of success. When I formed my question I wanted to choose a low-ish rushing total because I was only getting a yes or a no. An NFL running back can have a tremendous season if he rushes for 1,450 yards so if I asked “Will Jonathan Taylor rush for more than 1,500 yards” and I got a “no”. But that doesn’t mean he would have had a bad season. So I asked “Will Jonathan Taylor rush for more than 1,200 yards”

1,200 yards is enough to absolutely be considered a successful season for any running back but given that when healthy, Jonathan Taylor is a special player, fewer than 1,200 would be seen as a down year.

So when the psychic held the crystal, let go, watched it spin and gave a confident “No!”

In the moment I was surprised. I remember thinking that the psychic was 0-2 on her predictions. Now sitting here with the season upon us, I too would be surprised if Jonathan Taylor rushed for 1,200 yards in a Colts uniform in 2023.


Kwity Paye

This is a make or break year for the former first rounder. Paye has shown flashes and looked to be headed for a breakout in 2022 before his season was derailed by injury. So when I asked the psychic if Kwity Paye would have 10 or more sacks, you might be surprised to learn the universe said “maybe”.

I told the psychic that was exactly how I felt about Kwity Paye too.

So you know, we’ll see.

Josh Downs

Josh Downs, the undersized third round pick figures to have an impact on offense early in his career. With that said questions at the quarterback position, what Shane Steichen’s offense will look like in Indy and the fact that veteran free agent addition Isaiah McKenzie, will look to challenge Downs for playing time in the slot.

For a third round rookie with the challenges Downs seem to have in front of him, I believe that a season with 40 receptions would be a big success. So I asked the question “will Josh Downs have more than 40 catches this season?”

That question received a strong “Yes”

You can take it to the bank, Josh Downs will have a very nice rookie season.

Michael Pittman Jr.

Last year Michael Pittman Jr. caught 99 passes for 925 yards and 4 touchdowns. Pitt has had a solid, yet not spectacular career headed into his fourth season with the Colts. Given that he’s played with a different day one starting quarterback in each of his four seasons, his production has been outstanding.

This season, with a different cast of characters at quarterback I was curious if Pitt would crack 1,000 yards given that it’s almost impossible that the offense would not feature more downfield passing.

So I asked will MPJ have more than 1,000 yards this year? A strong no, emerged from the rotating crystal.

This was surprising given that Pittman is entering his fourth season, in a contract year and is easily the most polished receiver on the roster. With that said Alec Pierce, Josh Downs, Isaiah McKenzie, and a whole host of tight ends could end up taking targets and yards away from Michael Pittman Jr.

Sorry Pitt, it’s what the universe told be by way of a dangling crystal in a Kansas City casino ball room.

Jelani Woods

This former third round pick is an athletic freak of a man, who as a rookie, despite playing in one of the worst Indianapolis Colts offenses I can remember, showed flashes of being a receiving threat at the NFL level. Given Shane Steichen’s new offense, a new starting quarterback and all of the hope those things bring with them, the question on my and many Colts fans minds was “will Jelani Woods break out this season?”

Which is exactly what I asked the psychic sitting in front of me.

In early July, when I asked this question, it seemed likely. He seemed like the teams most promising option going into the year. I didn’t know that he would tear his hamstring. But apparently the psychic, or the universe, did.

Because a second after I asked if he would break out this season, the psychic looked at me and relayed that the message the crystal was sending her was a hard “no”.

Maybe next season, Jelani.

2023 Win Total

During the psychic reading the very first question I asked was: Will the Colts win more than four and a half games? She went through her process, took her hand off of the crystal and nothing happened. Which means that the universe didn’t have an answer for that question.

Maybe the universe struggles with fractions?

But we came back around to it and I asked again, this time dropping the win total to an even four games. This time when she took away her hand the crystal rotated to the right and then back to the left, which apparently also meant, maybe.

Maybe the universe doesn’t want me to bet the over/under?

Maybe there will be a tie in there?

I’m not sure.

The Future, Future

I could have asked her questions all day about the 2023 Colts but I only paid to get 10 questions answered and I wanted to make sure to leave one or two in the hopper in case one of the answers led me to a follow up question.

After I was informed that Anthony Richardson was not going to be a “franchise quarterback” I started thinking about what the future of the quarterback position would look like for the Colts and well, this kid named Manning is enrolled at Texas this fall so I figured I might as well ask the question.

“Will the Colts have the chance to draft Arch Manning?”


Which at first seems like it means the Colts aren’t going to be very good in the next 3-5 years. But given my next question, the last one I thought to ask, if this reading was 100% accurate (which I think is a safe bet), I think it tells us a lot more about what kind of player and prospect Arch Manning might be, rather than assuming the Indianapolis Colts will be bad.

The Next Five Years

Despite the fact that the universe had just told me that the Colts’ next franchise quarterback probably wasn’t on the roster and that the team would have a chance to draft the next generation of Manning quarterback, I was there asking the universe questions and after all, when was the next time I was going to get this kind of an opportunity?

So I asked a question I was sure would get a “no” in response.

“Will the Colts win a Super Bowl in the next five years?”

For the last time she pulled the string taught and carefully released it.

Looking up at me, she said “Yes” with some hesitation. She went on, “When my line tremors like that, it’s telling me that it’s further in, so it will be towards the end of your five year question.”

So what does this mean? Who knows? Does it mean that the universe was wrong about Anthony Richardson? Does it mean that the Colts are going to win the Super Bowl in 2028 with a first year head coach and a rookie Arch Manning leading the way?

I’m not sure. But in five years time, you can book another Colts Super Bowl.

Final Thoughts About Getting Weird

First, I want to say I have meant absolutely no disrespect to anyone’s beliefs or the way anyone chooses to live their lives. I came into this interested in what the results would be after listening to months and months of old Art Bell radio shows. In the end I met nothing but kind and wonderfully eccentric people along the way. I felt welcome the entire time and I walked away having the utmost respect for the folks I met on this journey.

Ultimately I wanted to write a prediction article that stepped outside of the box and in this case “the box” as it turns out, was my bias. In July I never would have predicted that Jonathan Taylor would go for fewer than 1,200 yards or that Jelani Woods wouldn’t break out. As a matter of fact I predicted Taylor would have a big year multiple times:

I actually put my money where my mouth is and placed bets on him being the offensive player of the year and I did so because I watched the Eagles offense and I saw how much room Jalen Hurts’ presence created for his running backs. Even with a worse line, I thought, Jonathan Taylor is going to find himself in space, without even trying, multiple times per game.

Now it seems Evan Hull and Zack Moss will be the Colts running backs doing so.

I went into this project thinking this would be a fun article to research and write. I thought I would meet some interesting people and if I’m being honest, I figured I would discard most of whatever information I found as soon as I finished the last line of the story. I thought that given my knowledge base there was no real way that a psychic was going to give me any insight into any part of the Indianapolis Colts.

And I’ll be honest, I still don’t really believe that I was communicating with any kind of a higher power, but I do believe that the answers I received forced me to consider other possibilities that I otherwise wouldn’t have. I asked questions that I believed had logical yes/no responses and if one question was “no” then it wouldn’t make sense for a later question to receive a “yes” unless the way I was thinking about things was flawed at the most basic level.

In a way it forced me to acknowledge possible realities that I hadn’t considered because they don’t make sense logically. But then again, the NFL is made up of a lot of people who are constantly doing illogical things. So I can’t say that this wasn’t a useful exercise to get me to consider things in a less rigid way.

On the other hand, in some ways I feel a bit like Indiana Jones. I feel like I’ve seen these unexplainable supernatural things and then as soon as someone mentions some artifact with “great power” I jump right to “Yeah if you believe in silly superstitions.”

I mean, it seems like it nailed a couple predictions and the season hasn’t even started yet.

So maybe...

Nah, can’t be...

Unless... nah.

Well, anyway, go Colts.