The Indianapolis Colts evened their record to 5-5 after beating the New England Patriots 10-6 in Germany on Sunday. They enter their bye week having won two games in row with their eyes on a playoff spot in the second half of the season.
NFL.com took notice that the Colts have found different ways to win in their latest NFL Power Rankings. The high-flying Colts offense was grounded by the Patriots in Germany, but Indianapolis still found a way to win behind its improving defense.
The Colts move up two spots to No. 17 after sending the careening Patriots to 2-8 on the season.
They’ve stepped into the bye on a mini high, winning two straight after a rough patch to get back to .500. Technically, every team remaining on their schedule is in contention, but right now, the 6-3 Steelers have the best record among those foes. The Week 14 road game at Cincinnati will be a challenge, too, with the Bengals barely ahead of them in the playoff standings. Strangely, the Colts are now 4-1 on the road after the sausage grinder of a win in Frankfurt, but only 1-4 at Lucas Oil Stadium. That latter record will have to improve if Indianapolis is serious about making a playoff push, as four of the Colts’ final seven games are at home. The defense and Gardner Minshew limit this team’s chances, but it should get healthier this week to be ready for the stretch run. Eric Edholm, NFL.com
As the Colts enter the second half of the season, head coach Shane Steichen discussed the importance of finding different ways to win.
"I think you start playing your best football in November and December, and you start climbing," said Steichen after the game on Sunday. "You kind of find out about teams late second half of the season.
"So to be 2-0 and finding different ways to win and our defense has obviously stepped up the last two weeks in Carolina and then now here against the Patriots. But the big thing is just playing that complementary football back and forth going forward so we can be at our best coming off the bye."
The Colts averaged 28-points per game in the three-game losing streak prior to the last-two games. They scored just 37 points (18.5 average) in their wins over Carolina and New England.
We've seen that this team can put up points, and now the defense is coming around. Should the Colts find complimentary football, they'll continue to climb the power rankings and into serious-playoff contention.