The Indianapolis Colts made a lot of improvements to their roster during the offseason. But lead NFL analyst Sam Monson of Pro Football Focus still considers the Colts a potential middle-of-the-road, just nearly out of a playoff spot, team going into the 2022 season.
With the expanded postseason system that came in 2020, 14 teams now make the playoffs every year. Monson ranked the Colts at No. 15 on his NFL power rankings ahead of the 2022 season.
“In a tough spot after a failed Carson Wentz experiment last season, the Colts somehow managed to upgrade at quarterback this offseason without a franchise-altering cost,” Monson wrote. “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.
“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.”
That’s a positive conclusion for the Colts. Monson has Indianapolis firmly placed in his “eyes on the playoffs” tier of teams that includes six 2021 playoff participants — the Dallas Cowboys, Philadelphia Eagles, Arizona Cardinals, Las Vegas Raiders, Tennessee Titans and New England Patriots.
But above the “eyes on the playoffs” tier, Monson ranked 11 other clubs. Essentially, as of July 4, Monson considers 20 teams potential playoff contenders and doesn’t consider the Colts as a guaranteed postseason participant.
ALL the latest Colts news straight to your inbox! Join the Heavy on Colts newsletter here!
Colts Ranked No. 8 in the AFC
Indianapolis is one spot ahead of the direct middle of the NFL pack on Monson’s power rankings. Among AFC teams, the Colts are right in the middle.
Monson placed the Buffalo Bills, Kansas City Chiefs, Los Angeles Chargers, Denver Broncos, Cincinnati Bengals, Cleveland Browns and Baltimore Ravens ahead of the Colts. Only seven AFC teams will make the postseason.
The common theme among those squads is strong quarterback play. All of those teams have starting quarterbacks who have either won conference championships or are expected to be in the MVP conversation in 2022. The lone exception will be the Browns if Deshaun Watson cannot play because of a suspension.
Indianapolis also possesses a quarterback who has played in a Super Bowl. He has thrown for at least 3,900 yards and 20 touchdowns in each of the last 11 seasons.
The question just becomes how good can Matt Ryan still be at 37. He’s shown signs of slowing down the past couple years, but with the Colts, Ryan will have an MVP candidate at his disposal in running back Jonathan Taylor.
Colts Top Ranked in AFC South
Based on pure numbers, it seems as though Indianapolis will be on the outside looking in if it finishes with the eighth-best record in the AFC, as Monson has projected the Colts to finish.
But the NFL obviously doesn’t work that way. One of the four teams in every NFL division not only earns a postseason berth every year but also hosts a playoff game. According to Monson, Indianapolis has the best chance of doing that in the AFC South.
Monson ranked the reigning AFC South champion Tennessee Titans two spots behind Indianapolis at No. 17. He rated the Jacksonville Jaguars and Houston Texans at No. 27 and 28, respectively.
This fall, the Colts will be seeking their first division title since 2014.