The Indianapolis Colts, an NFL team that currently competes in the American Football Conference (AFC). The team was established in 1953, 67 years ago. From 1953-69 they competed in the Western Conference but then moved to the coastal division for two years. In 1970 they were placed in the AFC East. Indianapolis competed in the east for 31 years, recently moving to the AFC South in 2002. From 1953-83, they were known as the Baltimore Colts. Then when 1984 hit, they relocated to Indianapolis. The Colts have won two super bowls including seven conference championships and 16 division championships. In 2008, the Colts got a brand new stadium in Indianapolis known as Lucas Oil Stadium which is now the host of the NFL combine. The Colts have had many legends play for them such as Edgerrin James, Dwight Freeney, Reggie Wayne, and Marvin Harrison. However, nobody comes close to the legendary Peyton Manning, who recently retired. During his time with the Colts, Manning was a four-time NFL MVP, 12-time Pro Bowler, and most importantly a Super Bowl Champion. He is the franchise leader in all-time wins, passing touchdowns, passing yards, and completions. After Manning was traded, the Colts received the number one pick and ultimately drafted Andrew Luck.
The Colts front office consists of two main people. James Irsay, who is the owner and chief executive officer and Chris Ballard who is the general manager. In 2018, the Colts hired Frank Reich to take over as head coach. He was a former NFL quarterback who spent most of his career with the Buffalo Bills. Towards the end of his career, he bounced around from the Panthers, Jets, and Lions. In his 13 year career, he only played 20 games. Along with Reich, Nick Sirianni runs the offense for the Colts. He is entering his third season as offensive coordinator of the Colts. On the defensive side, Indianapolis is coordinated by Matt Eberflus who is also entering the third year with the Colts. Lastly, Bubba Ventrone is the special teams coordinator. He is also entering his third season with the team.
Currently, the Colts are coming off a 7-9 season finishing 3rd in the AFC South. Last year was very strange for Indianapolis. It all started off when quarterback Andrew Luck announced his retirement from the NFL after a preseason game. This was very surprising to the entire NFL, as he was expected to get back to full strength after previously dealing with several back injuries. Jacoby Brissett took over as the QB1 for the Colts and led them to a 5-2 start. However, it went all downhill from there. Indianapolis lost seven of their next nine games. The collapse mostly had to do with injuries from Brissett, WR T.Y. Hilton, RB Marlon Mack, and TE Eric Ebron. Now, heading into the 2020 season, the Colts are hoping for some success with their big off-season moves. Indianapolis signed former longtime Chargers quarterback Phillip Rivers. They also drafted RB Jonathan Taylor out of Wisconsin. He finished his college career as the No. 6 all-time rusher in the NCAA and the first player in history to rush for more than 6,000 yards in any three-year span. Taylor has serious potential and could definitely find himself in the Offensive Rookie of the Year talk if given the opportunity on the field. Despite these notable additions in the off-season, the Colts already have some studs on the roster. One player that has taken the league by storm is LB Darius Leonard. Leonard was drafted in the second round of the 2018 NFL Draft. He instantly made a name for himself in the league being named to First-Team All-Pro and took home the Defensive Rookie of the Year honors. This season and last season, Leonard was voted into the NFL Top 100.
Heading into the 2020 NFL season, the Indianapolis Colts will be focused on clinching a playoff berth. Considering their current team, front office, and coaching staff, that is definitely doable. It will be interesting to see how they will perform this year.
Indianapolis Colts Betting Preview
If you asked me how to describe the 2019-20 version of the Indianapolis Colts in one word, I'd say resilient. A team that was poised coming in to the season to be a Division Winner and Super Bowl contender, but had the rug swept from under their feet in a course of 24 hours. On August 24th, 2019, superstar Quarterback Andrew Luck announced his retirement. A decision that changed the face of the Colts franchise instantly. A switch was made to start Jacoby Brissett the back up to Luck, acquired from the Patriots organization.
Frank Reich's team ended the season at a disappointing 7-9, placing third in the AFC South, but you can't point to any lack of effort. Only, four of their nine losses were by double digits and the defense ranked in the top half of the league in total yards allowed per game and rush yards allowed per game. On offense the team landed in the top 10 in total rushing yards for the season and in the top half for total points. They were very close to turning that 7-9 into more of a 10-6 finish. Sometimes you have to look past a teams record to see the potential, and the Colts have great potential for 2020.
Key Offseason Moves
This is where the Colts really thrived. Let's take a look at some of the important signings they accomplished from the free agency period. To me, this is where this franchise flexed it's muscle. I'm not a huge fan of trading away a top 15 draft pick, but getting DT DeForest Buckner from San Francisco out of it had to put a smile on the fans faces. Buckner will be key to helping this defense take a step further towards an elite level. On top of that, the team addressed its need for better Quarterback play by signing Phillip Rivers to a one year deal. With all the weapons this offense has and the strength of their O-line, we could see Rivers find some of his old form back.
The last few key signings came from replacing Eric Ebron with Trey Burton and signing Cornerback Xavier Rhodes from Minnesota. A shut down corner who desperately needed a change in scenery. Now, let's move to the draft where the Colts just kept winning. Even without their top pick, Indianapolis was able to add WR Michael Pittman and Wisconsin star RB Jonathon Taylor. Two rookies that will immediately push this offense to the next level. Pittman should be poised to eventually replace T.Y. Hilton an oft injured receiver coming to the end of his deal. There biggest loss of the offseason was letting Eric Ebron walk, but immediately found an adequate replacement.
Top 3 Player Profiles
This is where it gets tough. This team is absolutely stacked with offensive weapons and defensive studs. Narrowing it down was extremely difficult, but had to be done nonetheless.
1. Phillip River- We can't talk about individual betting lines in football without mentioning the quarterback position. Especially one as well-known and trusted as Phillip Rivers. In terms of his individual lines to look at, there are three on Draftkings that I will point out. The first is the line for most passing yards in a season. Draftkings has Rivers at +2200 a great return for a guy who has accomplished this before back in 2015. Given the weapons he's being surrounded with this could very well happen. Two more intriguing lines to take would be +2000 for most passing touchdowns and +1100 for most interceptions thrown. He did throw 20 INTs in 2019
2. Jonathon Taylor- Going with rookies can be tough but Jonathon possesses all the tools to take over Indy's backfield and fight for awards like Offensive Player of the Year while leading the league in rushing yards. Fresh legs behind that stout O-line could spell trouble for the rest of the league. Taylor's line on Draftkings for Most Rushing Yards this season sits at a mouthwatering +5000. I mean you probably have at least $10 you can throw at that line. For Offensive Rookie of the Year, Draftkings has him at +900. I have already put my money on both of those happening.
3. Darius Leonard- We can't talk about key players for the Colts without mentioning their stud linebacker. Without a doubt Darius Leonard is a sure fire bet to place to Lead the league in tackles. A feat he already accomplished in his Rookie season in 2018 with a whopping 141 solo tackles. Draftkings has Leonard at +800 to lead the league in tackles and +3300 to win Defensive Player of the Year. I'd happily take both of those lines.
Time to shift our attention away from individual lines to the overall team bets. The Colts win total, according to Draftkings.com is set at O/U 9 and O/U 10.5. The interesting line would be at 10.5 where they've set the over at +238 which honestly isn't great. Things become much more interesting when we talk Super Bowls odds. Draftkings has the Colts at +2200 or 22/1. A much bigger return on investment. To win the Division, Indy currently sits at a boring +350 or 3.50/1.
An Honest Prediction
I'm currently very high on the Indianapolis Colts. If they can keep their core healthy along with Phillip Rivers, the sky could actually be the limit. They don't even need Rivers to turn back the clock necessarily. Denver won the Super Bowl with a lesser version of Payton Manning. I see the Colts ending at their best they're more than capable of winning 11 games. At their worst, more like 9. I predict they'll hit 10 wins this regular season. 10-6 will be enough to win a weirdly scrappy division and return to the Playoffs.
I feel like this team will have the Offensive Rookie of the Year in Jonathon Taylor and a Defensive Player of the Year candidate in Darius Leonard. Indy is going to be a team to be reckoned with.