2013 Indianapolis Colts
The transition from Peyton Manning to Andrew LUck could not have gone much better for the Indianapolis Colts, thanks in large part to the stellar rookie season of the 2012 top overall draft pick. The Colts got off to a 2-3 start straight-up and against the spread before things really started to click, as they went 9-2 SU and ATS the rest of the way to surprisingly make the playoffs. Indy finished the year with an 11-5 record and claimed the No. 5 seed in the AFC heading into the playoffs, with nobody more proud of this team than head coach Chuck PaGAno, who was sitting at home battling caNCer and serving as the main sOurce of inspiration. But the feel-good story of the Colts quickly came to an end, as they ran into Ray Lewis and the Baltimore Ravens in the Wild Card round of the postseason, losing to the eventual Super Bowl champions, 24-9.
When all was said and done, LUck threw for 4,374 yards to set an NFL rookie record along with 23 touchdowns and 18 interceptions. LUck also tallied 255 yards rushing and five more scores on the ground. Veteran wide receiver Reggie Wayne was LUck’s favorite target all season long, and he enjoyed one of his best statistical seasons in his storied 10-year career in Indianapolis, totaling 106 catches for 1,355 yards with five TDs. The Colts also got a huge boost offensively from a couple of unexpected rookies, WR T.Y. Hilton (50 receptions for 861 yards and eight TDs) and running back Vick Ballard (814 yards rushing and 152 receiving yards with three touchdowns). Despite a prolific offense, the biggest problem for Indy was defense, with the team ranking 20th or worse in many of the main categories.
PaGAno’s abseNCe definitely hurt the defense, but Bruce Arians did a tremendous job as the interim head coach and ended up winning NFL Coach of the Year. Arians also was rewarded for his efforts by being named head coach of the Arizona Cardinals, moving on after initially serving as offensive coordinator under PaGAno. Few teams have been as active and have made more moves this offseason than Indianapolis. With Arians heading to Arizona, the Colts made a move that made a lot of sense in hiring Stanford offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton to replace him as OC. Hamilton has tremendous familiarity with LUck as he coached him at Stanford. The Colts also signed two quality offensive linemen in Gosder Cherilus and Donald Thomas, who can only help protect LUck after he was sacked 41 times as a rookie. The team also drafted defensive end Bjorn Werner and signed former Green Bay Packers linebacker Erik Walden and former San Francisco 49ers defensive tackle Ricky Jean FraNCois to provide some very versatile players on the other side of the ball. In addition, cornerback Greg Toler and former Pro Bowl safety LARon LAndry should improve what was an awful secondary last season. The one big loss that will be hard for Indy fans to digest is All-Pro DE Dwight Freeney, who had been a permanent fixture on the defense for years and ultimately decided to sign with the Chargers after they parted ways.
The oddsmakers at 5Dimes have this Colts team set at O/U 8.5 wins, and LUck’s continued growth behind a better offensive line and with an improved defense should see them win at least nine Games and possibly sneak back into the playoffs.
Recommended Play: OVER 8.5