Heading into the season, most fans and experts didn’t expect the Indianapolis Colts to make the playoffs. However, you can’t overlook them as legitimate playoff contenders this year. 2022 wasn’t so peachy for the Colts, who won only four games all year long. The team is off to a good start this season, though, owning a 2-1 record. After losing their first game to the Jacksonville Jaguars at home, they’ve won two straight on the road over the Houston Texans and Baltimore Ravens respectively.
Star running back Jonathan Taylor, who is currently on the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list, has not played a game for the Colts this season. There’s a possibility that he may never play for the team again, seeing that he has requested a trade. Whether the former Pro Bowler stays in Indianapolis or not, the Colts have a chance to reach the postseason. Taylor’s backup, Zack Moss, who rushed for 122 yards and caught a touchdown pass in Week 3 against the Ravens, has more than carried the load for the team’s running game.
How the Indianapolis Colts Could Make the Playoffs
They Have One of the Best Kickers in the NFL
During the offseason, the Colts signed Matt Gay to a four-year deal worth $22.5 million. It was the biggest contract ever given to a free-agent kicker. It was a surprising move, knowing that Chase McLaughlin was coming off a solid year. However, it appears that the signing was a smart decision by the Colts.
Gay was phenomenal against Baltimore, becoming the first player in NFL history to hit four 50+ yard field goals in a game. His 53-yarder with 1:09 left in overtime lifted the Colts to an impressive 22-19 victory over Lamar Jackson and the Ravens. Gay is certainly one of the NFL’s top kickers. He can win games with his leg and that’s the type of player you need to make the playoffs.
They Possess a Great Defense
Every sports fan knows the saying: Defense wins championships. While the Colts aren’t going to win the Super Bowl this season, they have a defense that’s capable of getting them to the playoffs. They lead the league with 23 tackles for loss. They’re also tied for second in both sacks (12) and forced fumbles (7).
Colts linebacker Zaire Franklin has racked up a whopping 45 tackles through three games. The Syracuse product is on pace to make 255 total tackles, which would break the NFL record set by Hardy Nickerson in 1993 (214). Indy’s secondary has been a weakness, but its pass rush has definitely shown up so far. Every team needs a strong defense that can get to the quarterback frequently.
Anthony Richardson Could Be the Real Deal
The Colts started three quarterbacks last season: Matt Ryan, Nick Foles, and Sam Ehlinger. All three struggled, meaning it was imperative to address the position this year. Indianapolis did that by selecting former Florida Gators star Anthony Richardson with the fourth overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft.
Unfortunately, Richardson has struggled to stay healthy. He left each of the first two games early and missed the entire Baltimore contest due to a concussion. Yet, the Gainesville, Florida native has looked like a future star when he has been on the field. He impressively rushed for a pair of touchdowns during the first quarter of the Week 2 win over the Texans.
If Richardson can stay healthy and put together an electrifying rookie year, the Indianapolis Colts could have a realistic shot at winning the AFC South and making the playoffs. The division is one of the league’s weakest, making the team’s playoff chances even greater.
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