3rd Annual 32 in 32ish NFL Previews: Indianapolis Colts

Next up in the AFC South as part of our continuing previews of all 32 NFL teams over the course of 32 days, is the Indianapolis Colts, who finished in second place last season.

The Colts had a disappointing season last year, in part because of injuries that limited QB Andrew Luck to just seven starts during the season. WR Donte Moncrief and TE Coby Fleener also missed time with injuries, further limiting the team’s offensive attack. Luck should be ready to lead the Colts onto the field at the start of the regular season, but he hasn’t looked good in training camp. That can be a result of having not played in a game since November 8.

In the seven games that Luck played in 2015, he completed 55% of his passes for 1,881 yards, 15 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. WR T.Y. Hilton led the team with 69 receptions last season for 1,124 yards and 5 touchdowns. In 10 starts, Moncrief added 733 yards and 6 touchdowns on 64 catches. TE Dwayne Allen, who started 12 games, caught just 16 passes for 109 yards and 1 touchdown. On the ground, veteran RB Frank Gore got the bulk of the workload in the running game with 260 rushes — Luck was second with 33 — that resulted in 967 yards and 6 scores. Defensively, the team ranked 25th in the league in points allowed at 408, but the defensive unit’s 17 interceptions were tied for the sixth-most in the league.

Luck remaining healthy throughout the season is going to be a key to success for the Colts because, unlike last season when they had now-retired QB Matt Hasselbeck No. 2 on the depth chart, they don’t have a reliable backup to Luck with QBs Stephen Morris and Scott Tolzien the guys behind him on the depth chart. Gore being the anticipated starter in the backfield should cause concern for the Colts and their fans, as the 33-year-old is getting up there in age and may not be as durable as he was when he was younger. Hilton and Moncrief provide a pretty good 1-2 punch for the Colts in the receiving core, and Allen could be poised for a breakout season as the top tight end on the roster.

The Colts’ schedule begins with a home game against the Lions, followed by a visit to Denver to take on the defending Super Bowl champion Broncos in Week 2. A Sunday night contest at the Texans is on tap for Week 6, with a road game against the Packers at Lambeau Field in Week 9 leading into the Colts’ Week 10 bye. The Colts have back-to-back primetime games in Weeks 11 and 12, hosting the Steelers on Sunday night and a Monday night road game at the Jets. Weeks 15 and 16 see the Colts on the road against the Vikings and Raiders, respectively, before hosting the Jaguars to end the season. With a healthy Luck, the Colts should improve upon last season’s .500 record; I’m projecting them to win 11 games in 2016.

Source: http://www.colts.com, http://www.pro-football-reference.com

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