A couple of weeks ago, we broke down out prediction in the AFC South. The Indianapolis Colts and Tennessee Titans both finished 11-5 last year and were essentially in a dead-heat to win it this year on the NFL odds. That’s no longer the case as the Colts have fallen back due to a couple of major injuries.
NFL Analysis Indianapolis Colts | AFC South
New Colts quarterback Carson Wentz and arguably the best guard in the NFL, All-Pro Quenton Nelson, both underwent similar surgeries for a broken bone in their foot and both will miss 5-12 weeks – that’s obviously a pretty generic timeframe. Most reports are that Nelson will be back on the short end because it’s a new injury for him, but that Wentz would be on the longer end because his foot troubles go back years.
That large window implies they might be factoring in complications that often result from foot surgery, which can be unpredictable. Coach Frank Reich said the reason for the wide recovery timetable is because players recover at different ranges. The team will possibly have a better understanding on Wentz’s return once he starts the rehabilitation process between the two to four week range.
Clearly, Wentz won’t be ready for the first few weeks at least, and Indy could be buried early as the team’s first five games of the regular season are against teams — the Seahawks, Rams, Titans, Dolphins and Ravens — that went a combined 54-26 last season, with four of them making the playoffs.
For now, the Colts will go with 2020 fourth-round pick Jacob Eason as the starting QB but could trade for someone like Nick Foles, Marcus Mariota or Gardner Minshew. Four years ago, a Wentz injury left the Eagles in a similar position. In came Foles and he led Philly to its lone Super Bowl title. Foles is currently buried with the third string on Chicago’s depth chart behind veteran addition Andy Dalton and first-round pick Justin Fields.
Indianapolis is familiar with swinging a deal to address a need under center, having brought in Jacoby Brissett via trade in early September 2017. For now, the Colts want to see if Easton is the answer. This is their extended look they have gotten at him and part of why you have not yet seen the Colts jumping out to trade for a quarterback. Eason got virtually no work the entire fall with last year’s starter Philip Rivers taking first-team reps and Brissett taking scout-team reps. Eason is expected to play the entire first half of Indy’s preseason opener against the Panthers on Aug. 15.
In addition, the team likes what it has seen from sixth-round rookie QB Sam Ehlinger, who has been getting reps with the second-team offense. Ehlinger was a four-year record-setting starter at Texas as a dual-threat quarterback. Eason can’t run much.
“I’m really impressed with where Sam is,” Reich said. “Not only mentally, but whatever the ‘It’ factor is. It’s not too big for him. You can feel that. He’s got a presence about him. And he has instincts. You can just feel that he has good quarterback instincts. I told him that it’s very apparent he understands how to keep the game simple. And that’s a big deal.”
- Updated Colts Predicted Record : 9-8
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