While the summer season brings much enjoyment to the average person, for an NFL fan, it represents a desolate wasteland where Sundays just aren't quite as vibrant as in the autumn months. However, with each passing day, we inch closer to the beginning of the 2023 NFL season, which officially kicks off on September 8 this year.
Whether you've had your favorite team's tweet notifications turned on all summer or if you've decided to tune out all football news entirely, you'll be able to learn everything you need to know about your team going into the 2022-23 season right here.
In today's article, I'll be discussing the Indianapolis Colts.
I'm working on season guidebooks for all 32 NFL teams, which will all be released within the next few weeks. To check out another team's guidebook, click here:
2021 Season Recap
Indianapolis had a slow start to the season in 2021 but put themselves in an excellent position to clinch a playoff berth by the end of the year. However, a poor performance in their season finale against the 2-win Jaguars led to a really bad loss and caused them to just miss out on the postseason.
The Colts had an elite rushing offense as Jonathan Taylor had a monster season, securing the title for most yards on the ground of any player in the league. Their defense was solid but struggled at times to prevent points, particularly through the air. Indy made some sizable moves in the offseason to address last year's weaknesses, which we will discuss next.
Significant Roster Moves
Indianapolis' most notable move was trading the erratic Carson Wentz to Washington, then acquiring proven veteran Matt Ryan to take over the offense. The Colts lost a plethora of guys who made an impact last season, particularly at O-line and in the secondary. The Colts made another big move by signing lockdown corner Stephon Gilmore before also signing safety Rodney McLeod. Pass rusher Yannick Ngakoue was acquired from Las Vegas in a trade for CB Rock Ya-Sin. Phillip Lindsay adds additional depth to a loaded backfield.
2022 Draft Class
Indianapolis had eight selections in this year's draft and added much needed depth at multiple positions. Arguably their biggest need going into the draft was at receiver, and though their only receiver they took was Alec Pierce in the second round, they also took two tight ends to add some extra pass catchers there. Most of the players taken this year will contribute immediately, such as Pierce and S Nick Cross, who have already cracked the starting lineup.
The Colts will take on the AFC West and the NFC East to go along with their six divisional games. Their other three opponents are the New England Patriots, Pittsburgh Steelers, and Minnesota Vikings. With an opponent prior season win percentage of .469, Indianapolis has the 6th easiest schedule in the NFL.
Indianapolis' primetime games include one Thursday night game at Denver, one Sunday night game at Dallas, and two Monday night games versus Pittsburgh and the Los Angeles Chargers.
The Colts return 13 of their 22 offensive and defensive starters from a season ago, which is below average among all teams in the league. However, some of their turnover was much needed, particularly at the quarterback position. Many people feel that the Colts' roster was in a win-now position a year ago, they just didn't have the right guy at QB to make that happen. But with a more consistent Matt Ryan under center behind a strong offensive line and with a great run game, they will almost surely take another step forward in 2022.
Frank Reich enters his fourth season as head coach of the Colts. Gus Bradley was hired as defensive coordinator to replace Matt Eberflus, who left to become head coach of Chicago in the offseason. The other two coordinators remain the same from a year ago.
Oddsmakers have set the regular season win total for Indianapolis at 10 games. As of right now, the Colts are favorites to win the AFC South, but are only the 7th most likely team to win the AFC. At +2200 to win the 2023 Super Bowl, they are tied for 10th among all teams in the league.
Bucket Squad Predictions
I expect Matt Ryan to make a big difference in the offensive efficiency of the Colts, simply by taking better care of the ball if nothing else. Their biggest question mark to me is at the wide receiver position, as after Michael Pittman Jr., the rest of the guys on the depth chart are either unproven or just can't stay healthy.
With the other position groups prepared to take a step forward in 2022, I'm picking Indianapolis to go 12-5 and win the AFC South. They have the type of scheme that could see them having success in the postseason, in which they will attempt to do some damage to make up for their disappointing finish in 2021.
What do you think? Will Indianapolis be better or worse than I'm projecting? What offseason moves made by the Colts surprised you the most? Leave a comment down below and be sure to check the "NFL" section of the website for more NFL team guidebooks as I finish them.
Written by Nick Swatson