By Chris Schisler
The Indianapolis Colts take on the Baltimore Ravens on Monday Night Football. You’re here for Ravens coverage, but let’s focus on the opponent this week. Who are the Colts and how good are they? The Colts have struggled however it’s important to remember they’ve had a tough schedule.
The Colts started the season against the Seattle Seahawks. Russell Wilson had 254 yards and four touchdowns. More concerningly for the Colts they only put up 16 points. Seattle once was known for their defense, in 2021 getting held to 16 against the Seahawks isn’t the best look.
The Colts had the Rams in the second week of the season. The Rams were favorites on the road and came away with a 27-24 win over Indianapolis. The Colts lost the game but made a convincing argument that they could be a tough out this season. The peaks of the game for the Colts were 123 yards receiving from Michael Pittman Jr. and an interception by safety Khari Willis. Wentz got hurt in the game and he’s been playing banged up.
The Colts didn’t pick up any confidence against their AFC South rivals the Tennessee Titans. The week three loss to the Titans was to the score of 25-16. Wentz had a rough day. He was held to just under 200 yards passing despite throwing the football 37 times. The Colts scored only 16 points against a Titans defense that has struggled last year and hasn’t been much better this year. The Colts gave up 113 yards to Derrick Henry.
In week four the Miami Dolphins gave the Colts a much needed confidence booster. The Colts won the game 27-17. Jonathan Taylor rolled past the Dolphins defense for over 100 yards and Wentz had an efficient 238 yards passing and two touchdowns. The Colts got three sacks out of their defense. It was a complete team victory and signs of life for Indianapolis.
What the Colts have going for them:
The Colts have a few things going for them. First of all, Frank Reich is a good coach. If the train can stay on the tracks, he’ll keep things together. Reich deserves as much credit for the Eagles’ Super Bowl win as Doug Pederson does. The chemistry between Reich and Wentz has carried over smoothly to midwest.
Wentz has some talent around him in this offense. Michael Pittman Jr. is a receiver that I had a first round grade on when he came out of USC. Pittman Jr. has been having a monster season that makes my evaluation of him going into the league check out. He has 23 receptions for 279 yards. Wentz, Pittman Jr. and Jonathan Taylor make a good trio of stars for the offense.
Defensively the Colts have some talent. In particular let’s higlight Darius Leonard. Darius Leonard is the linebacker Baltimore hoped Patrick Queen would be. Leonard is one of my favorite players in football, he’s so physical and he plays fast and confident.
For a 1-3 team the Colts have a surprisingly good turnover ratio (+4). Indianapolis hasn’t allowed an opponent score 30 points yet this season and have a good bit of stops on third downs. Frank Reich haven’t been a pushover and their three losses have been against teams that have been against potential playoff teams.
The Colts have issues though and it’s reflected in their record:
The Colts have issues. Having Quenton Nelson on injured reserve is a big blow for the Colts offensive line. Wentz has been showing his toughness this year, though playing while hurt is an issue that has to concern the Indy faithful. The Colts offense has stalled in key spots this season. They have two games where they were held under 20 points. In both games it had more to do with their play offensively than their opponents.
The Colts started the season 0-3. They just haven’t put everything together most of this season. Against a good team, the Colts have struggled to produce enough scoring drives. The Colts pass rush isn’t necessairly bad, but they definitely miss Justin Houston. The Colts could use an extra element on both sides of the ball. Offensively the Colts could use a better option opposite of Pittman Jr. or a star tight end. Defensively they need more play-makers that make a difference with sacks or takeaways.
The Baltimore Ravens have to show up, but should prevail:
The Baltimore Ravens can’t get away with sleeping on the Cotls. The Colts have enough talent to make this a good game if John Harbaugh’s team allows it. The bottom line is that the Colts have been competitive on a weekly basis. They’re 1-3 yet they have enough going for them that their not dead in the water in one of the weaker AFC divisions. The Colts have plenty to play for. They look like an average team, a middle of the pack team that had some it’s heavyweight fights early.
Hopefully this look at Indianapolis helps prepare you for a realistic view of the Baltimore Ravens’ opponent. This isn’t a pushover the Ravens are playing, but let’s not pretend that Baltimore is facing a sleeping Giant either.