Can Peyton Manning and the Colts rebound from defeat in the Super Bowl? Al Dannity says it will be business as usual in Indianapolis.
Off-season changes The Colts know a winning formula when they see it, that’s why all but one starter from 2009 is back. Ryan Lilja is the only absentee after he was cut in March. Even Lilja won’t be too upset, the Colts didn’t cut him until after they paid him a $1.7 million roster bonus. That’s not to say Indianapolis lacks new blood. Once again the Colts biggest changes in 2010 came via the draft.
Fifth round pick Brody Elridge is particularly interesting. The tight end from Oklahoma is limited as a receiver but is an exceptional blocker. The Colts running game was last in the NFL last season and Elridge could make a big difference on the ground. First round pick Jerry Hughes will alleviate some of the pressure on Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis. The defensive end offers an athletic alternative to Freeney and Mathis, two players who were over-used in 2009.
Mark your calendar The Colts don’t usually strive for perfection in the regular season, they just get really close and ease off once the job is done. Despite a quality line-up, Indianapolis might have to work harder than usual to finish top of the pile in the AFC South. The Colts road game at Houston should prove one of the best games of the opening weekend.
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The Colts won’t have another must-watch game until week 11. That’s when Indianapolis travels to New England for yet another classic-in-waiting against the Patriots. Week 12 sees San Diego, a team which has owned the Colts in recent years, come to town. The Colts have yet another high profile match-up in week 13, when the Cowboys pay a visit. A trip to Tennessee to take on the Titans in week 14 completes the toughest four game stretch of the season for Indianapolis.
The verdict NFL betting fans should expect another stellar year from Peyton Manning under center. He will find the open man and he will guide the Colts to at least 11 wins. Take the over of 10.5 wins at +125 with Sports Interaction. That should be enough for the playoffs and I like the Colts to do enough to at least secure the AFC South title. A 12-4 total is certainly achievable and I wouldn’t rule out a 13-3 season. Bettors should keep an eye on how early the Colts final playoff fate is known If Indianapolis has nothing to play for at home against the Titans in week 17, I like the Colts to finish the regular season with a defeat. That won’t be the end of the line for Peyton Manning and friends this season. A deep playoff run should be expected.