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2011 Indianapolis Colts Team Preview/Prediction

2011 Indianapolis Colts Team Preview | NFL Predictions

The 2010 Indianapolis Colts’ pre-Super Bowl playoff exit might in fact be the least painful and most dismissible of the seven they have suffered during a nine-year run of heading to the playoffs.

2011 Indianapolis Colts Team Preview/Predictions
2010 Record: 10-6
ATS Record: 8-7-1

Peyton Manning and company saw a blown opportunity in their 17-16 loss to the New York Jets in the opening round of the 2010 NFL playoffs.

Here is the thing for the Colts, though: After all they endured this past season, they did quite well to win their division and return to the postseason.

Yes, the loss to the Jets marked the seventh exit in the Colts’ first game of the playoffs in Manning’s 11 trips to the postseason. That is something Manning and the rest of the Colts do not like to think about.

However, in light of the injuries suffered to key offensive cogs last season, most specifically Dallas Clark and Austin Collie, it was hard to see the Colts making a deep playoff run to begin with. The Pittsburgh Steelers would have been heavily favored to stop the Colts if Indianapolis had managed to sneak past the Jets in the wild card round.

Despite Peyton Manning and the wealth of weapons he has to work with, the offensive line is the Colts’ achilles heel. Jeff Saturday is as good as it gets at center, but General Manager Bill Polian has been unwilling to use high draft choices on offensive linemen to help protect his franchise quarterback.

However, Polian broke the trend this year, taking Anthony Costanzo and Ben Ijalana in the first two rounds of the draft.

Yet, it’s still worth noting that the Colts are going to have to rely on rookies and undrafted players. Even though Peyton is one of the most difficult signal callers to sack, once you get him moving around and feeling uncomfortable, he can be thrown off his game.

The offensive line’s problems hurt the running game as well last season.

Donald Brown has failed to become the explosive, game-changing back the Colts have been hoping for since drafting him in 2009, even though his early career has been shortened by injuries.

Still, the Colts need to achieve more offensive balance in order to avoid becoming a one-dimensional football team. One thing that will help in this regard is if they can keep Joseph Addai healthy. [soliloquy id=”82219″]

Addai was yet another member of a veteran group of skill people who was felled by injury in 2010. If Addai can join Clark and Collie in the Colts’ lineup, and if all three players can last the entire season, the Colts will likely add a few wins to their 2010 total and contend for a first-round playoff bye.

On the defensive side of the football, the horseshoe must get better at stopping the run. Again, going against his usual draft tendencies, Polian went outside of his comfort zone and selected Drake Nevis out of LSU to help inside.

The problem here is that this is a fast defense that is built on stopping one-dimensional passing attacks and defending leads. That is okay when you are facing the Tennessee Titans of the world but when the game is level, these fast linebackers and linemen are undersized and easily knocked off the ball against power teams.

Maybe this is why the Colts haven’t been as dominant as some in Indy have hoped for. Power football has never been and never will be the strength of the Colts, but if they can get their offense to revert to 2009 form, they can play the kind of football they want to play… and get back to the Super Bowl.

2011 Colts Futures

Super Bowl Odds: +2550
Conference Odds: +1250
AFC South Odds: +105
2011-2012 NFL Regular Season Wins: Over 9.5

2011 Colts Predictions:

Place they’ll finish in AFC South: 1st
Place they’ll finish in AFC Conference: 2nd

Over/Under Wins Prediction: OVER

With NFL football just a short time away, Cappers Picks Football handicappers have been hard at work putting out the team by team NFL previews for those of us who can’t wait.

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About Dave Golokhov AKA Vegas Dave

Dave Golokhov has written for Playboy.com, BETUS Sportsbook, Sportsfanmagazine.com, FOX, Askmen.com, Sports-central, and the FOXSports.com Funhouse.


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