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Is it Playoffs or Bust for the Indianapolis Colts?

Indianapolis Colts playoffs

The Indianapolis Colts barely missed the playoffs last season with a backup quarterback and a rookie head coach. Entering this season, they will come in with more experience and added talent. That being said, the AFC South and the AFC as a whole will be tough to compete against. Nonetheless, there are some high expectations for the Colts this season, and one of those expectations is a playoff birth.

The Colts have not been to the playoffs since the 2020 season when Philip Rivers was the quarterback. They also have not won their division since 2014, when Andrew Luck was quarterback. Both feats are realistic this season, but are these high expectations fair for a team that is so young? Is it playoffs or bust for the Indianapolis Colts?

Why the Colts Need to Get Back to the Playoffs

Their Roster Has Gotten Better

The Quarterback Position

There is no question that the Colts, overall, have improved since last season. For one, they had to finish the last 13 games of the season with Gardner Minshew as their starter. This is not to say that Minshew is a bad quarterback, but he does not have the same talent and skill sets that Anthony Richardson has. Even though Richardson only has four starts under his belt, he has better skill sets and a bigger upside than Minshew. The Indianapolis Colts will look to utilize his skill sets to maintain an explosive offense to get back to compete in the AFC and get back to the playoffs.

The Defensive Line Position

The Indianapolis Colts also have improvements on their defensive front, which will be crucial to getting back to the playoffs. In the first round of the 2024 NFL Draft, Indy selected edge rusher Laiatu Latu from the University of UCLA. Latu was the first defensive player in the draft and he, arguably, was the best defensive player in the draft. Coupling his abilities on the defensive line with DeForest Buckner and Grover Stewart will be a scary force for opposing offenses.

Shane Steichen Has a Full Year Under His Belt

Although head coach Shane Steichen did not win Coach of the Year last season, he certainly proved his worth in the league as an offensive mastermind. In 2023, he overcame adversity with injuries to his quarterback, running back, and secondary while still maintaining a winning record and almost winning the division. Entering his second year as a head coach, he will have a lot more to work with and more talent.

The Colts will have a healthy Jonathan Taylor in the offseason. They will have a couple of promising offensive weapons in Adonai Mitchell and Anthony Gould. Their tight ends, like Jelani Woods, Kylen Granson, and Drew Ogletree, will enter 2024 with more experience and upside. Lastly, they bolstered the offensive line with a couple of promising tackles in the 2024 NFL Draft. Needless to say, Steichen is working with some house money in 2024. Therefore, there is no reason why the Indianapolis Colts shouldn’t get back to playoff football.

They Need to Get Back to the Standard of Winning

The Indianapolis Colts franchise has been a franchise of winning all throughout the 200os with Peyton Manning and Andrew Luck at quarterback. Since both players left the league, the Colts have struggled to be consistent. Up until Luck’s retirement in 2019, the Colts had made the playoffs 14 times in the span of 19 seasons. They also have nine division titles since 2000 which is the most amongst the teams in the AFC South. The Colts are also fourth in the league in terms of winning percentage each regular season.

The standard of the Indianapolis Colts franchise is about winning and getting to the playoffs to vie for championships. That has not been the case within the last few years, but Indy has a chance to get back on track in 2024. The roster is better, and Shane Steichen has more experience. All that is left is for the team to execute and showcase to the league that the Colts are still a winning franchise.

Main Image: Kelly Wilkinson – USA Today Sports


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