Friday, September 09, 2005

The Indianapolis Colts aka The Ultimate Warrior

The Ultimate Warrior probably had as much potential and offensive firepower as anybody in pro wrestling. He crushed The Honky Tonk Man in 10 seconds to win the Intercontinental title. He defeated everyone from Andre “The Giant” and Randy “Macho Man” Savage to the immortal Hulk Hogan. The Warrior will forever be remembered for what he could’ve been rather than for what he actually was. He left the WWF three different times over contract disputes and never really made it as an icon in wrestling.

The Indianapolis Colts are dead-ringers for The Warrior. They demolish pretty much every team in the league aside from New England. They’re consistently picked in the pre-season to make the Super Bowl. Peyton Manning set every single season passing record last season. The Colts have two problems that are essentially the same problem. 1). They can’t beat New England on the road. 2). They can’t get homefield advantage.

The offensive is probably the most explosive in NFL history. Last season, Manning threw for 49 touchdowns and had a 121.1 passer rating. Marvin Harrison, Reggie Wayne, and Brandon Stokely did their best Sanders-Monk-Clark imitation by gaining 1,000 yards and at least ten touchdowns each. Edgerrin James seems to be close to 100% after tearing up his knee. Dallas Clark is so respected in Indy that the Colts booted Marcus Pollard. There will be no issues on offense so I’ll end it here.

The Colts take a lot of criticism for their defense. I don’t think it’s that bad. In fact, it’s certainly not the reason why they haven’t won a Super Bowl. Over the last three years in the playoffs, the Colts have either lost on the road or to the Patriots and most of the time it’s been both. In those three losses, they’ve scored a grand total of 17 points. In the two losses to the Patriots in the last two years in the playoffs, the Colts have given up 20 and 24 points respectively. The defense is not the problem. I’m not saying it’s on par with the Ravens or Eagles but it’s far from the worst unit in the league. The Colts aren’t very big on the defensive line so they are susceptible to a power running game. Corey Simon was a very important signing. He should make the Colts D-Line as good as it's been in recent memory. Dwight Freeney is one of the top pass rushers in the league. The linebackers and defensive backs are very talented. Rob Morris and Cato June are very good linebackers. Mike Doss and Bob Sanders are hard hitting safeties. They drafted Marlin Jackson in the first round who should immediately upgrade their pass defense.

I can’t stand Manning. He rolled over in his bowl game against Nebraska in 1997. His family all but cried when Charles Woodson won the Heisman. He lambasted his kicker (Mike Vanderjagt) when Vanderjagt actually had the guts to call out Manning and the offense for disappearing in big games. Manning threw for 137 yards and two interceptions in a playoff loss to the Jets and followed that up the next year with 237 yards and four interceptions against the Patriots. Manning has choked in big games and has never taken responsibility for it. I’m sick of Manning. But, the fact of the matter is that in the RCA dome, he’s pretty much unbeatable. He’s one of the better quarterbacks in NFL history and he’ll probably break many of Dan Marino’s All-Time records.

This guy looks familiar. Alice Cooper maybe?

The schedule is weak. I would be surprised if the Colts lost more than three games this year. They play at Baltimore, at New England and a home game against Pittsburgh. I don’t think the Colts will lose all of those games. In fact, it’s more likely that they’ll go 2-1. The rest of the schedule features such overpowering opponents as Cleveland, Tennessee (2), San Francisco, Houston (2), Cincinnati, and Arizona. The Colts will get homefield advantage in the playoffs this year because they have the easiest schedule of all contenders. I think that will give them the edge over New England in the playoffs. I think Indianapolis will make the Super Bowl and promptly roll over against the Philadelphia Eagles.

Predicted record: 14-2

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