Indianapolis Colts 2009 Season Preview
By Wilson of Predictem.com
2008 Record: 12-5, ATS 8-9
Stadium: Lucas Oil Stadium
Head Coach: Jim Caldwell; first year
Superbowl Odds: 7 to 1
Training Camp Site: Terre Haute, Indiana (Rose-Hulman Institute of technology)
Training Camp Dates: August 3 - 20
Tony Dungy is no longer the head guy in Indianapolis as he retired last season. The Colt faithful will now look to newbie Jim Caldwell who actually isnt new but he has replaced Dungy as the main man on the sidelines. The Colts will certainly look different especially with the absence of former playmaker and fan favorite Marvin Harrison. With some new additions and continued leadership from Peyton Manning the Colts should win at least 11 or 12 games again this season and run into the playoffs with high hopes of earning a superbowl trip.
Whos new? DT Ed Johnson, RB Donald Brown (1st round pick), DT Fili Moala (2nd round pick)
Whos Gone? WR Marvin Harrison, RB Dominic Rhodes, DT Darrell Reid
Offense: As always, the most important aspect of any NFL team is keeping a good health log. The Colts must stay healthy as they are not as deep as they would like to be considering they have lost Harrison and recently brought in RB Donald Brown from UConn to split time with Joseph Addai. Addai is the engine in the backfield and he needs to stay healthy if the Colts expect to establish the passing game like they usually do. Even though Manning is arguably the smartest QB in the league he still needs the ground threat to open the airways.
We know what well get from Peyton Manning, but with the loss of Harrison some fans are a bit weary. No worries Colts followers as you can rely on Reggie Wayne to fill the Harrison void as he already stepped up to the No. 1 receiver spot last season. Wide receiver Anthony Gonzalez will get into the passing scheme even more this season as well and most likely be Mannings No. 2 target. Also contributing to the pass attack will be Dallas Clark who is returning after having an excellent year last season.
The Colts offense must grab a hold of the running game early and keep it throughout the year. Even with a 12-4 record last season they only managed to get a wild card slot. Indianapolis must keep up with their division rival Tennessee Titans who put pressure on every team to compete and they especially challenging for the Colts. If Manning and the gang can run and gun like they want to it will be another great year in Indy.
Defense: The main issue for the Colts defense is also injuries. SS Bob Sanders has got to find a way to remain healthy all year. This seems to be a recurring problem for Mr. Sanders but his style of play is what puts him on the sideline and it is just bad luck that he gats injured so often. With a healthy Sanders, and hopefully a solid impact from USC draft pick Fili Moala the Colts defense should be up to challenge most offensive attacks.
Special Teams: Adam Vinatieri has been as key of a kicker as the Colts could expect during the past three seasons and with off-season surgery expected to recover with no hiccups, the kicking games should be on track.
The biggest worry on special teams might be the kickoff coverage as the Colts have shown some vulnerability in the past and need to improve before the regular season sinks in. Last year opposing teams advanced the ball to the 25-yard line to start their series. The Colts could benefit from a faster more dialed in coverage squad.
September 13 - Jacksonville Jaguars
September 21 - at Miami Dolphins
September 27 - at Arizona Cardinals
October 4 -Seattle Seahawks
October 11 -at Tennessee Titans
October 18 - BYE
October 25 -St. Louis Rams
November 1 -San Francisco 49ers
November 8 - Houston Texans
November 15 - New England Patriots
November 22 - at Baltimore
November 29 - at Houston Texans
December 6 -Tennessee Titans
December 13 - Denver Broncos
December 27 - New York Jets
January 3 - at Buffalo Bills
Betting Odds and Projections:
Peyton Manning has proven himself as a leader and finisher, but this season he will need to establish the run to open the passing game. Last year the Colts were 31st in rushing yards and that simply will not get the job done. If Addai and company can run the Colts can go deep into the playoffs.
At 7 to 1 odds to win the superbowl obviously there are a lot of believers out there in Coltville. The Manning show will have to remain stellar to lead the Colts back to the big-game. I see the Colts putting up a ton of points especially after September when theyve had time to gel as a unit. Luck to ya.
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