The Comeback is previewing all 32 NFL teams from worst to first leading up to the start of the 2018 regular season on Sept. 6. Up next in our preseason rankings are the finger-crossing Indianapolis Colts.
2017 in a nutshell: Quarterback Andrew Luck misses the entire season after the team lies about his injured shoulder. Without Luck, the Colts rank in the bottom-three in the league on both sides of the ball and win just four games.
What’s different: Luck seems to be healthy, and he’s got a little more support with Quenton Nelson, Ryan Grant, Eric Ebron and veteran offensive linemen Matt Slauson and Austin Howard on board. They also have a new head coach/quarterback guru in Frank Reich and new coordinators on both sides of the ball.
Why they could be awesome: Last time Luck was fully healthy, he led the Colts to the AFC championship game. And Reich is a breath of fresh air.
Why they could suck: Luck hasn’t been fully healthy since 2015. And the jury is naturally still out on Reich and his staff.
Major additions: Nelson, Slauson, Ebron, Grant, defensive tackle Denico Autry, second-round defenders Kemoko Turay and Darius Leonard, Reich and defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus.
Major losses: Cornerback Rashaan Melvin, defensive lineman Johnathan Hankins.
Breakout watch: Second-year second-round cornerback Quincy Wilson barely saw the field for much of his rookie season, but was he graded by Pro Football Focus as one of the four best players on the team in each of the final two games of the year. With Melvin gone, he should take a big step forward in 2018.
Position to watch: Frank Gore is gone, and now they need somebody to step up behind Luck at the running back position. Second-year fourth-round pick Marlon Mack flashed here and there as a rookie but is already hurt, which could pave the way for rookie middle-round selections Nyheim Hines and Jordan Wilkins.
Prediction: Need to see it to believe it with Luck, and it’s not as though the defense is significantly better. That’ll still be a weak spot and there aren’t a lot of weapons surrounding the franchise quarterback. In a highly-competitive division, they might struggle to post a .500 record.
7-9, 4th place in the AFC South