There are certainly a lot—and we mean A LOT—of questions about the Indianapolis Colts, but projecting just two wins for the team this season seems a little harsh, doesn’t it?
That’s the prediction from USA Today’s Nate Davis, who projected the records of each NFL team for the 2018-2019 season. Davis has the Colts finishing dead last in their division—and dead last overall. The team’s 2-14 record is the worst among all NFL teams.
The Colts are in the middle of a rebuild under general manager Chris Ballard. They have a first-year head coach in Frank Reich, and their coordinators—offensive, defensive and special teams—are all in their first years as coordinators.
Then, of course, there’s the health of quarterback Andrew Luck, who underwent surgery in January 2017 and ended up missing all of last season. His second attempt at a comeback from shoulder surgery appears to be going better—he’s actually been seen throwing a football—but it’s hard to say how effective he’ll be this season.
Even then, there are questions about his supporting cast. Aside from T.Y. Hilton and Jack Doyle, the Colts don’t have a proven commodity at receiver or tight end. They lost running back Frank Gore to free agency and are young at that position.
The offensive line, as always, also remains a question mark. The Colts appear to have a good core in Anthony Castonzo, Ryan Kelly and first-round pick Quenton Nelson, but the unit will be relatively young and it may take some time before everything comes together.
Defensively, the Colts are switching schemes from a 3-4 to a 4-3. They’re young, inexperienced, and many observers believe they’re thin on talent. Health is another concern, with last year’s first-round pick, safety Malik Hooker, recovering from a torn ACL. Safety Clayton Geathers is recovering from a neck injury.
It remains to be seen if the Colts have enough quality players on the defensive line. And the effectiveness of the team’s linebacking unit is murky, too.
Here’s what Davis wrote about the Colts:
Even if Andrew Luck has made a complete recovery, his supporting cast hasn’t — crippling in a once-downtrodden division that’s transformed in Luck’s absence.
Davis believes the Jacksonville Jaguars (12-4) will win the AFC South and projects double-digit win totals for the second-place Houston Texans (11-5) and third-place Tennessee Titans (10-6). That doesn’t leave many wins for Indy, leading to that 2-14 projection.
At least there’s nowhere to go but up, right?
Davis thinks the Los Angeles Chargers and New England Patriots will face off in the AFC Championship Game while the Atlanta Falcons and New Orleans Saints will play in the NFC Championship Game. He picked the Falcons over the Chargers in Super Bowl LIII.
The Colts kick off the regular season on Sept. 9 against the Cincinnati Bengals.