The Indianapolis Colts, along with the rest of the NFL, endured an ever-changing offseason with plenty of moving pieces. That starts at the top of the roster with the Colts shipping Carson Wentz to the Washington Commanders and replacing him with Matt Ryan. Thankfully for Indianapolis, the rest of the AFC South is either rebuilding or had an interesting offseason that resulted in trading their star receiver. While we are still three months away from the regular season, this is the perfect time to make some bold predictions for the Colts.
Make sure to check out all of our other NFL Bold Predictions.
The Colts Clinch the AFC South Ahead of their Week 14 Bye
While the Colts had an easy route to the playoffs to end the season last year, they couldn’t take advantage of it. Thankfully, Indianapolis has improved their quarterback spot, pass-rush, tight end, and defensive backs room. In the AFC South, the Houston Texans and Jacksonville Jaguars are rebuilding and the Tennessee Titans, while they won the division last year and secured the top seed in the AFC, traded away their best receiver.
The Titans have the first-place schedule, meaning they play the Buffalo Bills, Green Bay Packers, and Cincinnati Bengals. Indianapolis will face the New England Patriots, Minnesota Vikings, and Pittsburgh Steelers instead. The Titans will struggle against better pass-rushing teams with their lackluster offensive line. With that said, the Titans have a murderous row of games from Week 9 and 13 with games against the Kansas City Chiefs, Denver Broncos, Packers, Cincinnati Bengals, and Philadelphia Eagles.
Alec Pierce wins Offensive Rookie of the Year
With a massive need at receiver, the Colts spent their first selection on the wide receiver from Cincinnati. While the stats may not be eye-popping, they don’t tell the whole story of the dynamic receiver. Pierce is a fast player with underrated route-running skills and can jump through the roof. With Michael Pittman cemented as the top receiver, this may be very unlikely. Pierce has a high chance to succeed in Indianapolis with Ryan as the quarterback and a front office and coaching staff that loves him.
The most obvious answer for this award has been a quarterback. But unless one of Kenny Pickett or Desmond Ridder starts the whole season or turns in a Baker Mayfield-like performance when they step into the starting role, neither will get the recognition. The favorite is Breece Hall, but there are plenty of mouths to feed for the New York Jets, that also includes Garrett Wilson. The next favorite is potentially Chris Olave, especially if Michael Thomas isn’t healthy. So, Pierce is a sneaky pick for the Offensive Rookie of the Year award.
Indianapolis Leads the League in Sacks
Chris Ballard is one of the best general managers in the league. Unfortunately, he has seemingly missed getting help for his pass-rush group. Last year, even after spending their first two selections to help the unit, the Colts still finished tied for 25th with 33 sacks. DeForest Buckner led the team with seven sacks, but after him, two of the next three names in terms of sack totals have left for new homes. Kwity Paye finished with four sacks on the season and hopes to improve in his second season. Dayo Odeyingbo comes back hopefully healthy for his second season and will look to provide a spark as the third man in the rotation.
The biggest move the Colts made on the defensive side was trading for Yannick Ngakoue, who finished with ten sacks last season, the most he’s had since 2017. The combination of Ngakoue and Paye off the edge with Buckner wreaking havoc in the middle is a bright sign for Indianapolis from a pass-rush unit and one that looks to improve from their 33-sack total last season.
Julian Blackmon Plays ALL 17 Games
The third-round selection in 2020 provided a spark in the secondary during the 2020 season. Unfortunately, Blackmon’s season was cut short in 2021 to only six games. Along with Blackmon, Khari Willis only played 11 games, forcing Indianapolis to make some moves in their safety room. The Colts added Rodney McLeod and traded up to select Maryland’s Nick Cross in the third round. Blackmon is seemingly on the hot seat with the additions, but with rumors that he will be a full-go by training camp, the Colts could finally get a full season from their versatile safety.
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