Part II of my 5 bold predictions for the Indianapolis Colts upcoming 2013 season: (For Part I click here)
4. Andrew Luck will be a Most Valuable Player (MVP) candidate
By MVP candidate, I mean being one of the last five standing in the MVP race. I have already covered why Luck will not experience a ‘sophomore slump’ here, but there is so much more to it. He won’t just have a better season, he will have an MVP season.
In all honesty, roster-wise, the Colts were a 5-11 team last year at best, but they somehow shifted that in the direction of an 11-5 record. That ‘somehow’s’ name is Andrew Luck. Hell, I believe he should’ve been more seriously considered for MVP last season, and you’re telling me he’s going to have an even better season than that?
Yes. Not only is he a year older, a year wiser, along with some of his, young, offensive weapons, but now, he has more than a sheet of paper protecting him from the defensive onslaught he so epically avoided last season, week in and week out. He has a new offensive coordinator, who coached him at Stanford, in Pep Hamilton that will protect Luck and help increase his completion percentage with more quick throws, like the Spider 2Y Banana.
He has one of the best receivers in the league in Reggie Wayne, who still has a few very good years in him. He has former Stanford, and current Colts teammate, tight end Coby Fleener, who had an underwhelming rookie campaign, but is truly a mismatch for defenses with his size and speed, and is now playing in an offense he was successful in during his college tenure.
He has a dynamic playmaker in wide receiver T.Y. Hilton, who is working extremely hard this offseason to become even better than his impressive first season. To go along with one of the best all-around players on offense (already!), in tight end Dwayne Allen.
Oh and don’t forget second year running back Vick Ballard, who proved he can play in the league last year, working with consistent workhorse Ahmad Bradshaw, presenting Luck with a very good running back stable.
And those are all extraneous variables, don’t forget about Luck himself. Luck is a very smart man (I think we’ve all heard about his architecture degree by now) and a year of experience will go a long way’s for him. However, he’s not just the nerd we all love to love; he’s also that jock that we are all secretly jealous of. A 6-foot-4, 235-pound player who runs around a 4.6 40, the same time as Cam Newton ran, with a strong and accurate arm, and you can see just how menacing Luck is both physically and mentally.
And we’re giving this man the reigns to an offense he was extremely successful with in college? With legs and an arm as lethal as his? With weapons as dangerous as he has? You know what, I just convinced myself; forget a top 5 finish, I expect him to have a top 3 finish in the MVP voting: 4,650 yards, 36 touchdowns, 14 interceptions, 66% completion percentage, 11-5 record and he helps the Colts take the division. Speaking of the Colts taking the AFC South:
5. Indianapolis Colts win the AFC South division
Raiders, Dolphins, Jaguars, Chargers, Rams, Cardinals, Titans, Bengals, Chiefs: nine games the Colts should win.
That’s excluding games the Colts have an extremely good chance of winning; the second Jaguars and Titans games, and the home game against the Texans (I’d love, love, love to see the Colts keep that home winning streak against them alive), but because division games can always go either way, I didn’t include them in the ‘should win’ category.
However, I’ll take one of the Jaguars/ Titans game two to go along with the home game against the Texans and include it in the win total, that’s 11 games if you’re keeping track.
Moving on, there are games I think the Colts have a chance in but will be very tough to take. It’s the NFL, so any team has a chance of winning in any given week, but for predictions sake I’m looking at the roster to roster matchup. The week 3 matchup against 49ers (hoping Kaepernick will still be missing Crabtree), Seahawks (home game, and they’ll be minus Harvin), Broncos (home-game with extra incentive).
Those last 3 are very, VERY tough matchups for the Colts, but 2 of them being home games should give fans hope, but we’ll still count them as losses for the predictions sake. I will admit that the Bengals, Chiefs, Dolphins and Rams will be tougher matchups than they seem right now, the Bengals even looking to be a tough game at this moment, but I still believe Indy has a very good chance of winning them, and we’ll count these games as part of the Colt’s win column.
Counting it all up, that would be the 11 win season that I promised, though I may be denying this promise come January. We learned last year that winning is more than just about your roster, it is the matchups you are faced with throughout the season, and the Colts got extremely lucky in that manner; we are in a weak AFC South division, with only one real semi-threat in the Texans. I believe in the extreme talent the Texans roster has, but I do not believe in quarterback Matt Schaub, and on top of that they’re playing a relatively weak AFC West division. The Chiefs and Chargers could be surprise teams of 2013, but I still believe the Colts have the advantage over them.
Yes, they are playing the tough NFC West, but that’s only 4 games out of a 16-game season. So, you may say the Colts do not have the talent to be an 11 win team (I believe they do), but you have to realize they have favorable matchups in their schedule that will help them get to that number. It will round out to 11 games, because there’s a good chance the Colts will give away games they ‘should’ win, and win games they ‘shouldn’t’, again I’m a strong believer that on any given Sunday, anything can happen. Therefore, the Indianapolis Colts will end up with an 11-5 record and reclaim the division from the Houston Texans.
There you have it; an underachieving receiver finally reaching his potential, a backup pass rusher providing much needed depth, one of the worst defensive backfield’s in football leaping up to the top of the league, a sophomore MVP and a division victory. I didn’t call it my 5 BOLD predictions for nothing. Go Colts!