A team to watch out for in 2021 is the Indianapolis Colts. Head coach Frank Reich has led this team to playoff appearances in two of his three seasons as head coach.
The Colts failed to make it past the Wildcard Round in the 2020 season and they were knocked out of the Divisional Round during the 2018 season. With one of the highest cap spaces in the league this offseason, the Colts have money to spend and possess a team with little holes to fill. Here is why the Colts are a team to watch out for in 2021.
QUARTERBACK ISSUE FIXED?
The Colts were seen as a team to watch out for during the 2019 pre-season, before quarterback Andrew Luck suddenly retired. This sent shockwaves around the league. Jacoby Brissett took the starting role but failed to replicate the performances by Luck during the 2018 season.
Philip Rivers joined through free agency in 2020 and did a capable job but the decline was there to see. He announced his retirement less than a month after the Wildcard Round loss to the Buffalo Bills.
Carson Wentz has been signed by the Colts in a trade with the Philadelphia Eagles. He previously worked with Reich during their time together at the Eagles, which saw them win Super Bowl 52. Wentz struggled in 2020 but had his best season in 2017 when Reich was his offensive coordinator.
If Wentz can get back to the form he showed before his injury in 2017, then the Colts have a great quarterback at their disposal and will definitely be a team to watch out for. If he continues to be the quarterback we saw in 2020, we could see him struggle.
THE PLAYERS AROUND WENTZ
Wentz will come into this Indianapolis offense with great weapons. He will hope to be able to throw to T.Y. Hilton who is yet to sign a new contract. Michael Pittman and Zach Pascal will also be key to this Colts passing offense being a team to watch out for.
There will also be the option for Wentz to be able to rely on his running backs. Nyheim Hines started the season as the go-to-guy before rookie Jonathan Taylor grew into the season and announced himself, eventually becoming Indianapolis’ lead back.
At times during his Eagles career, particularly the final two years, Wentz was throwing to players not many had heard from with these often being practise squad players. He will now have recognised players to throw to but will also have a decent running game to accommodate.
DEFENSE MAKES COLTS A TEAM TO WATCH OUT FOR
Indianapolis also had a defense that was excellent in 2020, particularly stopping the run.
They ranked 20th in the league for passing yards allowed (3,866) but allowed the tenth fewest points throughout the season. Only the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1,289) allowed fewer rushing yards than the Colts in 2020 (1,448).
Defensive tackle DeForest Buckner, who joined in the 2020 offseason from the San Francisco 49ers, recorded the joint-eleventh most sacks in the league during 2020 (9.5). Defensive ends Justin Houston (8) and Denico Autry (7.5) also chipped in with 15.5 sacks between them.
Cornerback Kenny Moore Jr recorded four interceptions in 2020, tied for the seventh most in the league. Linebacker Darious Leonard also contributed with the ninth most total tackles in the league during 2020, with 132 recorded. Their defense has studs all across the roster, which only further strengthens the argument that they are a team to watch out for in 2021.
Their division the AFC South features a Jacksonville Jaguars in rebuild mode and the Houston Texans in disarray. 2020 AFC South champions, the Tennessee Titans, were found out in the playoffs against the Baltimore Ravens who showed the league that if you stop running back Derrick Henry, you stop the Titans.
A chance is there for Indianapolis to take the division as they look to reach the Super Bowl for the first time since the 2009 season. The Colts are not too far away from being a Super Bowl contender and they should not be counted out when it comes to 2021 season predictions are are definitely a team to watch out for in 2021.