Colts Listed As AFC South Favorites

Andrew Luck and company are Super Bowl contenders

Keith Allison

The 2019 Indianapolis Colts are an intriguing bunch. Let’s dig into why they’re listed as the AFC South favorites and a Super Bowl contender. 

Last Year’s Results 

The Colts went 10-6 during the 2018 season after a 1-5 start, eventually going to the Wild Card Round versus the Houston Texans. The team won 21-7 on the road against Houston, next making an AFC Divisional Round appearance the Kansas City Chiefs. Though the Colts ended up losing 13-31, they were the third team in NFL history to make it to the playoffs after a 1-5 start. Indianapolis comes behind the Cincinnati Bengals (1970) and the Kansas City Chiefs (2015). The Colts went 4-2 within the AFC South and are now sitting at 2nd in the division. One of the most notable highlights of the 2018 season was the return of quarterback Andrew Luck, who missed the 2017 season after being placed on IR. In a highly productive season, the Pro Bowler completed 67.3 percent for 4,593 yards with 39 touchdowns. 

The Colts also shined offensively, allowing the fewest sacks across the league (18). Indianapolis had five consecutive games with zero sacks allowed and led the NFL with six games with zero sacks. Defensively, rookie Darius Leonard had 12 tackles for loss, two interceptions, and a league-best 163 total tackles. Leonard was later named the 2018 AP Defensive rookie of the year. Overall, the Colts had 91 tackles for loss, placing them second in the league. Other highlights included Kicker Adam Vinatieri becoming the NFL leader in points scored (2,600) and posted his 21st season with more than 100 points.

Key 2018 Statistics

Win-Loss: 10-6

Home: 6-2

Away: 4-4

ATS: 8-7-1

O/U: 8-8

Points per game: 27.1 (5th)

Total yards per game: 386.2 (7th) 

Pass yards per game: 278.8 (6th) 

Rush yards per game: 107.4 (20th) 

Pass attempts per game: 40.3 (2nd) 

Rush attempts per game: 25.5 (17th)

2019 Betting Odds

Odds to win Super Bowl: 12/1 (5th)

Odds to win AFC: 6/1 (3rd)

Odds to win AFC South: 4/5 (1st)

Season win total: 9.5

Key Additions

Justin Houston, defensive end

Devin Funchess, wide receiver

Spencer Ware, running back

Key Losses

Dontrelle Inman, wide receiver

Ryan Grant, wide receiver

Matt Slauson, offensive lineman 

Latest Key News

As the Indianapolis Colts head into the 2019 NFL Training Camp season, all of their 10 draft picks are officially under contract. The biggest headlines leading into camp are the return of a healthy Luck at center and the anticipated recovery of Doyle at the tight end position. Though there is no exact date for Doyle’s return, the tight end room still has Eric Ebron, Mo-Alie Cox, and Hale Hentges to handle the workload. Geathers should also return as the starting safety after recovering from a knee injury. It is expected that playing time will be shared with Malik Hooker and Matthias Farley, who have also been injury prone in the past.

The Colts have remained relatively quiet this offseason, but head coach Frank Reich is prepared for a competitive AFC South battle.

“The job Mike [Vrabel] is doing in Tennessee with that team and us coming down to the last game of the season last year. It really was like a playoff game between our two teams,” Reich said, per UPI.com. “And Jacksonville the year before, having the success they had. The division is definitely playing really tough right now.”

The Colts are extremely competitive, so the next key moves to look out for will be who makes the 53-man roster after training camp. From there, the AFC South betting odds for the Colts will shift accordingly. Should all the moving pieces work together as well as they are predicted to, early futures bets could payout even more exponentially.

Team Schedule

When looking at the 2019 schedule for the Indianapolis Colts, there are a few games that stand out. Their road-opener against the Los Angeles Chargers could prove difficult, especially defensively. Being able to shutdown Melvin Gordon and also limit Phillip Rivers and the passing attack will be crucial in securing a Week 1 win. 

The tougher matchups will be against the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 5, Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 9, and the New Orleans Saints in Week 15, all of which are also on the road. That being said, Indianapolis has one of the easiest schedules in the AFC South. Aside from those tougher away games, the Colts have a stretch beginning in Week 10 against the Miami Dolphins, Jacksonville Jaguars, and Tennessee Titans. The Titans matchup in particular can be considered as close to a lock as possible, as Luck is 11-0 against Tennessee in his career. 

Conclusion 

The 2019 season marks the first time Indianapolis has been favored to win the division since 2014. They were able to clinch the Wild Card last season after one of the worst starts in the league. The team also returns veterans Anthony Castonzo, T.Y. Hilton, Adam Vinatieri, Doyle, Luck, Geathers and most key players. All of these players (sans Geathers) appeared in the Colts’ 2014 AFC Championship run versus the New England Patriots. The team has not only retained key players, but also signed a mix of experienced and younger impact players. 

Unlike other teams, like the trending Cleveland Browns for example, Indianapolis has already shown that they are worthy of a division title and Vegas’ confidence in them speaks volumes. As long as Luck stays healthy, the Colts are not only an AFC South threat, but they should be a Super Bowl threat as well.