Jan 11, 2014; Foxborough, MA, USA; Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck (12) throws a pass against the New England Patriots in the second half during the 2013 AFC divisional playoff football game at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports
2014 NFL Power Rankings Countdown
6. Indianapolis Colts (AFC South)
2013 Record: 11-5
Head coach: Chuck Pagano – Pagano led the Colts to their second straight 11-5 season. But this time the Colts won the AFC South title and Pagano led the team for the entire season as his cancer is in remission. And he did so without the services of Bruce Arians who filled in for Pagano in the 2012 season while he was on a leave of absence. Now Pagano must find a way to get the Colts from division champs to AFC champs.
Best offensive player: Andrew Luck, quarterback – Luck has had two very successful seasons in his first two years in the NFL, and is already a two-time pro bowl selection. And Luck even improved on his solid rookie season with an even better one in 2013. He cut his interception total in half from 18 to 9 and he increased his completion percentage from 54% to 60%. It’s expected that Luck will be even better in 2014. NFL Power Rankings
Best defensive player: Robert Mathis, outside linebacker – Mathis led the league in sacks in 2013 with 19.5 and was selected to his sixth pro bowl. However, this offseason the NFL announced that Mathis will be suspended 4 games during the 2014 season for violation the leagues substance abuse policy. So the Colts will need to find other means of generating a pass rush until Mathis returns from suspension.
Rising Star: T.Y Hilton, wide receiver – In the absence of Reggie Wayne due to injury, T.Y Hilton emerged as Andrew Luck’s top target. He led the team in receptions with 82 and also in receiving yards with 1,083, and in TD receptions with 5. With Wayne returning to the lineup, Hilton will form with him and free agent signee Hakeem Nicks to give the Colts a very good trio at wide receiver.
Best new addition: Hakeem Nicks, wide receiver – The Colts didn’t have a whole lot of depth at wide receiver last season, especially with Reggie Wayne out injured. So Nicks gives the Colts at true number receiver to go along with Wayne and T.Y Hilton in the slot. NFL Power Rankings
Biggest offseason loss: Donald Brown, running back – Brown led the Colts in rushing last season and averaged over 2 more yards per carry than the Colts 2014 starter Trent Richardson. Brown was also a good receiver out of the backfield, so the Colts will miss his presence on offense. The Colts can only hope that Richardson justifies the first round pick they traded for him, or Ahmad Bradshaw can stay healthy.
Biggest strength: The Colts biggest strength is their quarterback Andrew Luck. He elevated the franchise when they drafted him number one in 2012, and his presence continues to be one of the major reasons the Colts are the favorites to repeat as AFC South Champions. NFL Power Rankings
Biggest weakness: The Colts biggest weakness is their run defense. They were near the bottom of the league in that category in 2013. However, they will need while the newly signed D’Qwell Jackson at inside linebacker and Arthur Jones at defensive end to help improve that.
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