It's been a great, fun season. But when it comes down to it we just aren't good enough to get it done in the playoffs yet.
Man next year is going to be one heck of a year though. We have loads of money to go out and sign who we want, if we make the right moves we can be super bowl contenders again as early as next season.
Yes, we have ten wins. Yes, there are couple quality wins - GB & Minn - although Vikes have not yet cemented the NFC 6 seed. Our season is impressive given the circumstances and expectations. We deserve credit and it likely bodes well for our future prospects.
Another strand of our overall season narrative is we've feasted on the results of a 2 - 14 mark from last year. Our play in close games has been incredible, but against a division winner on the road, are we capable of maintaining contact and giving ourselves that opportunity? We aren't talking Lions, Titans, and Chiefs here.
Our run defense looked precariously leaky last week and our pass rush has been largely uninspiring most of the year. On the other side of the ball, pass protection has been a consistent nightmare and despite the comebacks and late game composure, Luck has routinely suffered streaks of inaccuracy and turnovers.
So, shocked, if we pull what in my mind would be a massive upset? Maybe not shocked, but let's just say I'm not going into the wildcard game, regardless of our opponent, with any expectation what so ever. I see a team that's spectacular in the sense it has overcome a complete overhaul at all levels, a wealth of inexperience, low expectations, and a challenging situation involving its head coach, yet still was better than roughly 2/3 of the league. Thoroughly enjoyable and much credit deserved.
I do not see, however, a team anywhere near ready to complete with the league's elite, roughly defined as the 8 division winners. We have a slim flicker of massive upset hopes against that group. The only other playoff teams against whom I'd have have even moderate expectations would be the Bengals, Vikes, possibly the NFC East representative.
Now, a win in a legit, meaningful game against the Texans could certainly provide momentum and another quality win, perhaps a confidence that boosts us closer to elite level competition. Don't get me wrong, I'll be ecstatic if we win a playoff game, but the performance last week and the cons of our season - long pro/con list lead me to believe the most realistic conclusion is we just are not good enough against top - tier comp on the road in the post season.
I think we may need to be ready to exercise patience next season. Even if we do make all the right moves in drafts, free agency, etc, I think there may still be some growing pains. The biggest one possibly based on the fact that we'll be playing a 10 - 6 or 11 - 5 schedule. Additionally, it's not unusual for teams to hit some plateaus during their development over multiple seasons. We might be able to take the next step and be a legit superbowl contender, but we also might hover around .500 and appear to struggle even though it's just part of the longer - term learning/development curve.
We play the AFC West. Denver and Oakland at home, KC and SD on the road. Denver will be tough and SD could be difficult on the road. KC and Oakland should be wins.
We will probably play Miami and the Benglas as both of those teams should finish second in their division like us. We thankfully won't play the Patriots for the first time in forever.
I can't see us doing any worse than .500 in the division. I think we should at least win 10 games next year.
I've used this site in the past and it hasn't failed me yet: http://www.johnnyroadtrip.com/schedu...uture_afcs.htm
I'm feeling confident in beating a Jim Caldwell & Joe Flacco offense. Ray Lewis and Haloti Ngata are very scary though.
I wish people would stop saying this team was a 2 win team last year. That may be true, but, this team ( the team that just won 11 games) is not the same team as last year. The only resemblance is maybe 15 players and the mascot.
This team has a good record and has overcome all sorts of adversity. Adversity that would make most veteran teams, currently in this league, crumble.
-new coaching staff
-rookie qb that wasn't at OTA's
-switching to 3-4 def.
-no secondary to write home about
-o-line has been bad all season
-Head coach is out for 12 weeks
-not having Freeney and Mathis on the field at the same time for much of the season
-center position has been occupied by 4 to 5 different players
-had to win in comeback fashion many times
This Colts team is capable of anything. Who would have said before yesterday's game that J.J. Watt would be held without a sack. And that Foster would have less than 100 yards rushing. This team is made up of rookies and throw away players with some key vets sprinkled in, and yet they play like they are suppose to win games. When everyone says they can't, they do. A group like this who has some momentum coming into the postseason definitely has a chance to have a deep run.
It think they'll win the whole damn thing.
I think any team that qualified for the playoffs has a shot to win it all. Even the WC teams are dangerous.
Minnesota has proved that AP can carry them to win games.
Cincy is dangerous if AG Green and Dalton are on.
Seattle has been smoking everybody as of late.
Washington is the hottest team in the NFC.
GB has all the tools and experience to get it done.
SF, if they show up, can beat anybody.
Atlanta has a very explosive offense and has home field throughout the playoffs.
New England is New England and are always a threat to win the SB
Denver is the hottest team in the AFC and appears unbeatable if Peyton is on
Houston, if they can get it together, has talent on both sides to beat anybody
Baltimore can win if their sometimes explosive offense shows up
Indy has shown all year that if the game is close, Andrew Luck will find ways to win.
This is going to be an awesome post season