The Indianapolis Colts juggernaut just keeps on rolling. With a favorable schedule and Peyton Manning at quarterback, the Colts are looking like Super Bowl contenders once again.
The week one loss to the Houston Texans looks like an anomaly, as the Colts have had no problems since, crushing the New York Giants in week two and then going on the road to dispose of the Denver Broncos on Sunday. The reason for their success is the same reason they've had for the last 13 years: Peyton Manning.
With nine touchdown passes already and over a thousand yards passing, Manning boasts a current quarterback rating of 116.9. Manning has his familiar targets back from last year, including Reggie Wayne, Dallas Clark and Austin Collie. Receiver Anthony Gonzalez will miss his third straight game with a sprained right ankle, but Manning should be able to work with what he has without missing a beat.
The Colt's defense has allowed some big yards this season, but has managed to keep teams out of the end zone, with the exception of the game one loss to Houston. They have a good mix of veterans and young players, which should help keep the vet's fresh all season.
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Looking at the Colts' schedule, it's hard to see where they might lose another game this season. They face the New England Patriots and the San Diego Chargers in consecutive weeks in November, but other than that, they should be favored to win the rest of their games. In fact, they will probably be favored over the both the Patriots and the Chargers next month. Not to say that they won't lose any more games this season, but they could conceivably run the table with their schedule.
The next opponents for the Colts are the hapless Jacksonville Jaguars. The Jags have been blown out in their last two games and are more than likely to be blown out in this one. If David Garrard struggles against the Colts like he has all season, look for new quarterback Trent Edwards to possibly step in, freshly acquired off waivers from the Buffalo Bills. Edwards will not be that familiar with the Jaguars' offensive scheme though, so at least for this week Garrard is likely to play the entire game unless the score is so lopsided that Jacksonville inserts Edwards just to get his feet wet.
The following week pits the Colts against the undefeated Kansas City Chiefs, maybe the surprise team of this early NFL season. With a defense that has only allowed 38 points this year, they may give Peyton Manning some trouble if they continue playing as well as they have.
All regular season drama aside, the Colts are playoff bound once again. It remains to be seen if they can rebound from their Super Bowl loss to the New Orleans Saints. Of all the teams that can be considered legitimate contenders for a Super Bowl run this year, the Indianapolis Colts will be near the top of that list.