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I so want to be with you on that pick Nate. Nothing would make me happier. I've not cared about the result of a playoff game this much since that fateful day that Manning just missed Blair White in January 2011.
My key for the Colts offense is Fleener/Brazill/Whalen winning against the depth corners and backup linebackers of New England. Those are matchups the Colts can win, and if they do, they can keep up with the Patriots.
On the other side, they need that high-variance defense to play somewhere in the right tail, especially on rush defense. I don't think this current version of hte Patriots can run away with this game unless their rush offense dominates.
In the end, I'm going with the Patriots 27-21, but I think they'll keep it respectable. If the Colts do pull the upset, though? It would be an amazing moment, and a great one as the Pats fans will know that their days of beating the Colts are about done.
1 month, 3 weeks ago on Eyes in the Backfield: Patriots
I too think the Cardinals will win, and I thought before the season even when I thought the Cards would be a 6-10 team. That defense is really good, and better than that at home. They have good players at all three levels. They won't let the Colts come back if they fall 14 down again.
The positive for the Colts is this is the game that they can most afford to lose: an NFC game. They still have just two conference losses (one less than Cincinnati, same with New England). Unless the Patriots go unbeaten the rest of the way (possible, I guess), the Colts can lose this and still be in full control of their destiny in terms of getting the #2 seed.
3 months, 2 weeks ago on Eyes in the Backfield: Cardinals
@smonroe They also beat the Lions and Panthers at home earlier in the year, holding them to 21 and 6.
@Nate Dunlevy @7IHd SOV might easily be a tiebreaker between the Colts and Patriots.
Both have two AFC losses. Right now, the Colts have a loss to a common opponent (Miami), while Indianapolis can even that out with either a win over Cincinnati or a New England loss to Denver. If one of those two happen and they finish with the same record, the tiebreaker will be SoV.
I believe the Colts will have an advantage there, though, with wins over Denver, Seattle helping them greatly.
3 months, 2 weeks ago on Who to Root For: Week 12
I hate the fact the Colts had to have a bye right after the Broncos win. I would have picked them to win easily if not for the bye.
Losing Wayne hurts, obviously, but I'm really afraid about how the Colts choose to replace that production. My greatest fear is that if Luck struggles (and given the ability of Houston's defense, that is far from impossible), the Colts become more run heavy than even before. The Colts cannot fall into the trap of believing that losing Wayne means losing their passing game. I don't know if they will, but I don't have too much confidence that they won't.
The Colts defense should be good in this game, but the Texans receivers have played well this year. Case Keenum actually looked decent on the road against a better defense. They may play up for this home game. I'm just nervous about this game, really. The Colts are definitely a better team, and it feels great that they can afford to lose this game (both with the soft schedule ahead and the Texans being three games back). I don't think they will, though.
One last point, I think the Titans are the only real worry in the division. With Locker back, and maybe more healthy after their bye, they are the best team in the division other than the Colts. With both Titans games left, those are the only ones that scare me.
4 months, 1 week ago on Hitchhiker's Guide to Colts at Texans, NFL Week 9
My big fear is that Pep believes this. That they think it is because of the running game, and now with Wayne gone they turn to the running game even more, instead of putting it all on Andrew Luck. I'll wait to see if this actually happens, but I can see if Luck struggles without Wayne against Houston (still a decent to good defense) that they commit fully to the run. It's bad when I'm preemptively scared of what Pep might do.
4 months, 1 week ago on The BP Watch: The Colts Are Not 5-2 "Because They Are Run-First"
Did Nate ghostwrite this? Because it was incredible.
JK, of course. Greg, this was awesome. A great look back at Peyton's role in building this team, building the Colts as an organization. Peyton's legacy shouldn't be forgotten. I wan the Colts to win, but I still want Manning doing well. #18 is to Indianapolis what #19 (Untias) is to the earlier vintage of the Colts, or what Montana is to San Francisco. At least he should be. This game should have never happened. Peyton should never have had to return to Indianapolis in another uniform. But his own body failed him, the worst irony of it all.
I love Andrew Luck, but I lived Peyton Manning. I don't know what that means (it probably means nothing, along with being grammatically wrong), but it means something.
4 months, 3 weeks ago on Hitchhiker's Guide to What Peyton Manning Means to Me
Big game. Had this penciled in as a loss before the season started (I had the Seahawks game as a win - had them 4-1 coming into this game, but losing to SF), and I still think they lose. The one at least decent pocket passer they faced was Tannehill (who can run well, unlike Rivers who can run like a sloth), who played pretty well. The SD defense is bad, but I think they're better than DVOA says they are. Honestly, they should be 3-2 if not for that ridiculous semi-Hail Mary by Tennessee, and even their collapse against Houston probably should have been a win.
I hate as much as any Colts fan, but Philip Rivers has been really good this season. Just judging by 2013 play alone, he's right there with Luck for 2nd best QB in the AFC, and actually has a healthy lead on him in most conventional stats and Football Outsiders' advanced stats (Rivers is 2/2 in DVOA/DYAR, while Luck is 8/7). Good thing is the Colts play pass defense pretty well, but I don't think they've played someone like this.
I think teh Colts lose a tough game, maybe 27-24 or 30-27, that type. They're too good to get blown out, but I don't see the Chargers as being as bad as a 2-3 team. Playing Rivers, though, is excellent preperation for the Human Kaiju that is entering the Luke the following Sunday night.
Oh, and I hated Danny Woodhead to all ends as a Patriot, but him having success in San Diego while Brady is throwing to LeGarrete Blount as his 3rd down back brings me a lot of joy.
4 months, 4 weeks ago on Hitchhiker's Guide to Colts at Chargers, NFL Week 6
I bring this up just because they are who we are facing next, but Philip Rivers has a good argument for #2 in AFC above Luck. I don't have PFF premium stats, but he's way ahead in both DYAR and DVOA. Rivers has a lead of 658 to 244 in DYAR and 35.9% to 9.3% in DVOA. QBR is close but Rivers is slightly ahead there.
We can't even use the talent around him angle because Luck has better talent around him with Malcolm Floyd out for the year. Rivers' resurgence is one of the more under reported stories this year (he's hurt by going 2-3, but one loss was a hail mary, the other was a fluke collapse against Houston). It's close, I would put Luck 3rd after Rivers and Manning, who is basically playing a different sport.
The good news is Rivers is past his prime. There is no one in the AFC with the possible exception of Ryan Tannehill that is under 30 and close to Luck's ability. That is the best part. Come 2016, Peyton, Brady, Rivers, Ben, Schaub will be gone, and the only people that can match up to Luck aren't in the NFL right now.
4 months, 4 weeks ago on Crazy Talk
Great stuff Kyle. Jerrell Freeman had an awesome, awesome game. Unbelievable closing speed on that 4th down stop of Russell Wilson. Honestly, I don't think the Seahawks did anything on designed Zone-Read runs that WIlson kept.
As for Luck, that throw to Hilton on the 2nd TD was Manning-esque. The one complaint I have with him is for someone who can throw balls like that, he still is too inaccurate overall. But that will grow over time, I hope.
Finally, because it needs to be said for the eleventy quintillionth time, TY Hilton needs to be the #2.
5 months ago on GIFtastic: The Colts Beat Seattle and Andrew Luck is Amazing
Oh yeah, one more point about officiating, I believe the games officials get are pretty much random in the regular season. I believe there are restrictions on how many times someone can officate a certain team, but who gets bigger games in the regular season is random.
Ron Winter is just so bad. The Colts did get some of the benefit (Butler's Holding/DPI on the last drive was pretty blatant), so I won't complain too much, but how he's kept his job is beyond me.
5 months ago on Monday Morning Moaner: Colts vs Seahawks
Agree with basically everything, especially that Hilton should be the #2 receiver. I feel like the Colts try to typecast their offense. They need the little speedy guy as the #3 receiver. They need a FB (even two!). They need their blocking TE. They need their 2nd receiver who's basically like the #1 receiver but 30% worse at everything. So far it has worked well enough, but limiting Hilton's snap count is one of the more ridiculous parts of this offense.
Anyway, Luck rebounded from another slow start to play pretty well. I've never seen anyone who can throw absolutely perfect passes (that 2nd TD to Hilton was Peyton-esque) but be so erratic with his accuracy at times. The Seahawks defense as scary in coverage to start so I don't want to pin too much on Luck, but at least he moved on from that 1-6 start.
It is amazing this team is 4-1, tied for the #2 seed, having won two of the, what, four toughest games on teh schedule. I still think DEN beats them soundly (that DEN defense will be getting Von Miller back just in time for teh Colts game), but they can hang with anyone in the NFL. That defense was way too aggressive and undisciplined, but overall it is a good defense. Good enough to win in this league. Can't wait to continue this ride.
@vivafernando Of course, Rafa is defending a tidy 0 points at the OZ Open and Wimbledon, and none at Miami either.
6 months, 2 weeks ago on tennis.com - The Grand Stories: The Summer of Rafa
I haven't read it yet (just downloaded it), but flipped through the first few pages, and my word does it look amazing.
It is hard to believe that something of this level, visually, could be done by two handfuls of 'bloggers'. I had nothing to do with it, but even I feel a sense of pride (although that probably says more about me). Congrats to all of you.
I'll probably post again when I read the Annual, but first impressions are important and it looks absolutely fantastic. And, I say this in the most endearing way possible, but considering what 18to88 (my introduction into Colts blog-dom) looked like at the outset, it is kind of unbelievable that Nate, and the rest of the CA staff, could be involved in something this visually appealing./already ready to apologize for the jab, DZ
Can't wait to truly crack it open!
6 months, 2 weeks ago on The 2013 Colts Authority Annual
6 months, 4 weeks ago on Announcing the Colts Authority Annual
ESPN's Tennis coverage has almost always been great. For me, their best work used to be the Australian Open, mostly because since the live stuff was all about 8PM and later (with the prime matches at 3:30 AM), ESPN didn't care enough to spice it up. Instead, they just sent down their best guys and let them take control and give great coverage.
Since, ESPN has acquired rights to all slams and while there have been missteps like the Hannah Storm experiment, they've made the coverage at all the slams about as good as Oz.
8 months ago on Silence is golden for ESPN booth during Andy Murray's Wimbledon triumph
So many problems with the Top 100 thing. First, they do it every year, and while I don't mind seeing Lindsay (Soto) Rhodes on TV, the amount of airtime given to this list on NFLN defines self-serving television.
Also, I don't think we know of any actual star player who has ever admitted to voting on this list.
There are way too many skill position players, especially receivers. 18! There is no way that nearly one fifth of the best players in the NFL are wide receivers. Then, RGIII at 15, and also Luck being at 23, are just way too high for one year players.
Personally, as for the three QBs, I'm fine with Peyton at #2 and Peyton being the top ranked QB. He was, to me, the best QB in the NFL last year. What shocks me is the players putting Brady in front of Rodgers. I guess the knock on Rodgers was his 2012 season wasn't as good as his historic, absurdly awesome 2011 season, but then Brady dropped off as well.
Anyway, the only NFLN Top 100 I gave a damn about was their 'Top 100 Players of All Time" they did back during the 2010 season, which had Peyton Manning at #8 (highest ranked active player), which was compiled by sportswriters, front office types, retired players. That list was way better and way more evenly distributed across every position than these Top 100 of 20XX lists.
8 months, 1 week ago on A Few Comments on the NFL 100 List- AFC South Style
The gun culture in the NFL is ridiculous. I just hope he had the gun for protection and not for any other possible shady business.
8 months, 1 week ago on Colts Safety Joe Lefeged Arrested on Gun Charges, Fleeing Police
@Colt_Following Agree, the latter half of the season is really great. I too was disappointed with the way the first half was shot, with the stories coexisting but rarely overlapping, especially in teh George Sr. episodes (have to say, I loved Michael's second episode, The B. Team), but after that is out of the way, it gets back to really, really good.
9 months, 1 week ago on Revenge of the #CATweetbag
The 49ers number makes sense to me. From my admittedly amateur eye, I though Kap struggled with tight throws and struggled with throwing to covered receivers. I think Scott Kacsmar ran something a while ago about how Kap was way more successful throwing before the end zone and having the receiver cross the goal line than throw in the end zone.
This was notable in teh Super Bowl, where he throw totally uncathable balls, panicking after getting hurried quickly.
Surprised the Broncos were as low as they were. Me thinks Welker may help that number go up.
9 months, 2 weeks ago on Series Introduction: 2012 Redzone Performance