As the cliché goes, championships in the NFL aren’t won in the spring. Indianapolis Colts fans received a reminder of that fact in the latest NFL power rankings from sportswriter Peter King of NBC Sports.
Despite making improvements at quarterback, edge rusher, cornerback and maybe wide receiver (depending upon the play of second-round pick Alec Pierce), King does not hold the Colts in very high regard.
King ranked the Colts No. 21 in his new NFL power rankings on May 25.
“It’s a great cliché in the NFL, but so true about the Colts: They’ll go as far as the quarterback takes them,” King wrote. “After a three-year, 27-23 post-Luck run with Jacoby Brissett, Philip Rivers and Carson Wentz, now they settle into a season with 37-year-old Matt Ryan and a suspect receiving corps that features three recent second-round picks—Parris Campbell (2019), Michael Pittman Jr. (2020) and Alec Pierce (2022).”
The Colts were second among AFC South teams on King’s rankings, behind the Tennessee Titans, who slotted in at No. 12.
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King Writes Colts Improving Depends on Stretching the Passing Game
Don’t count King as one of the media members who expects a much improved passing game for the Colts this season. King doesn’t necessarily blame all that on new quarterback Matt Ryan, who turned 37 in May. The NBC sports writer also has his doubts about Indianapolis’ receiving core.
King implied that a deeper passing attack and more offensive continuity will be key to the Colts moving up on his future power rankings.
“Ryan’s 7.1-yards-per-attempt with Atlanta last year was his lowest in eight years, and Frank Reich has been hungry to start stretching the defense with some deeper throws,” King wrote. “So we’ll see if Ryan can still air it out.
“The Colts have the talent to win the AFC South, and the defense is good enough to keep them in games. They need a quarterback who makes receivers better and who’s in the building for more than 10 or 15 minutes. Ryan’s the latest hope for those jobs.”
Colts Ranked Highly in Other NFL Power Rankings
Other NFL power rankings hold the Colts in higher regard than King does.
NFL reporter Nate Davis of USA Today ranked Indianapolis the sixth-best team in the AFC, including No. 10 overall on his post-draft NFL Power Rankings on May 5.
“They had a sneaky good draft on the heels of acquiring QB Matt Ryan and CB Stephon Gilmore and might have erased the gap on a Tennessee squad that appears to be in transition,” wrote Davis.
NFL analyst Sam Monson of Pro Football Focus considers the Colts a middle-of-the-road squad as of late May. He ranked the Colts at No. 15, including eighth in the AFC, on his power rankings on May 25.
“Matt Ryan may be a declining force, but he still ranked eight places higher than Wentz in PFF grades last season and is at his best in a dome,” Monson wrote. “The Colts were a Wentz disaster away from the playoffs a season ago, and they should have their sights firmly set on playoff football again this year.”
NFL Insider Kevin Hickey of USA Today predicted on May 13 that the Colts will go 10-7 and win the AFC South in 2022.