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NFL Sneak Peak – The Indianapolis Colts

NFL Football Futures Betting – 2009 NFL PreSeason Analysis – Colts Football Gambling

The Colts got off to a slow start in 2008, as Peyton Manning took a whole to warm up after missing all of training camp. Manning eventually got himself going – and wound up winning the MVP award as a result.

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The running game went limp, though, averaging just 3.4 yards per attempt, and it never really corrected itself. That is what made the 12-4 record all the more impressive (although they were just 7-9 ATS), and with nine straight wins to close out the regular season, including victories over New England, Pittsburgh, San Diego and Tennessee, they should have been poised for a Super Bowl run.

It was not to be.

Odds To Win AFC South

INDIANAPOLIS COLTS   +155
Tennessee Titans         +240
Houston Texans           +325
Jacksonville Jaguars    +400

Tony Dungy has “retired,” and this was one of those situations where the outgoing coach named his successor a year ahead of time. In this case it was the assistant head coach, Jim Caldwell, the former head man at Wake Forest. Pension-related issues led to the “retirement” of both offensive coordinator and offensive line coach Howard Mudd, and though each will continue in the capacity of “consultant,” Caldwell was not specified exactly what they would be doing. That means you’ll have coordinators and consultants, and confusion, which could go along with it.

Manning did not start things off on a positive note, because he was a little frustrated that people in the organization weren’t being straight with him about what was going on. Manning is like a coach on the field, and he probably knows the offense better than anyone, so in the end he calls his own shots. They have had a meeting to clear the air, but if Manning becomes unhappy with Caldwell, there are going to be problems.

One of the problems that has been addressed is that running game, which should not have been so unproductive as long as Joseph Addai was available, but now will get some fresh blood in the person of Donald Brown, the All-American from U-Conn who rushed for over 2000 yards last season. He’ll make up for the departure of Dominic Rhodes, and the absence of Marvin Harrison from the receiving corps (he was released) will have some effect (he caught 60 passes), but it won’t be tragic, because Reggie Wayne (82 catches for 1145 yards) is the new go-to guy, Anthony Gonzalez is developing into a possession receiver, and Dallas Clark is one of the more productive tight ends in the game.

The Colts wanted to get bigger on the defensive line, as the run-stuffing capabilities of this defense have been in question over the last few seasons. That’s why they drafted USC’s Fili Moala on the second round and took Michigan’s Terrence Taylor two rounds later. If those guys work out, it will be a great complement to the pass rushing studs the Colts have on the outside, Robert Mathis and Dwight Freeney, who combined for 22 sacks last season. What we know about Bob Sanders is that he is one of the most respected defensive players in the NFL, and is somebody who is of major importance in stopping the run. Indianapolis may not need his help as much in that area, but it is still critical that he stay healthy for most of the year. In 2007 the Colts went through the whole regular season allowing more than 24 points just once. Last year they did it five times.

That will have to improve. Brown will have to be a useful addition to the running attack. Depth must be found at wide receiver. If those things don’t happen, the Colts will be hard pressed to regain the division title, because any of the other AFC South teams could conceivably win the crown. In the BetUS NFL futures betting props, the Colts are at 10 wins. I am going to lean to the “over” in that prop, laying -130.

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