2014 Record: 11-5, AFC South Champions, 4-1 in last five
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1st: 17th in DVOA* overall offense (13nd pass, 27th rush) | 13th in DVOA* overall defense (10th pass, 19th run)
2nd: Second-least effective defense in the league against receiving RBs (6.5 pass attempts per game, 47.9 yards per game, but top-11 most effective against WR1s (9th, 8.2, 59.4) and WR2s (11th, 5.4, 45.4), according to Football Outsiders’ defense vs. receiver types chart.
3rd: Key loss: RB Trent Richardson | Key addition: WR Andre Johnson
4th: SCENE: Indianapolis Colts War Room, during preseason preparation:
- “I’ve been doing some research. The kids these days, they keep talking about zigging when everyone else zags as a winning strategy.”
- “Go on, I’m listening.”
- “Well, you know how teams always try to infuse their rosters with young talent in the offseason? I think we should ZAG!”
That’s how it might look on the surface. Frank Gore and Andre Johnson are on the downslope of their careers, but they can still perform at a high level. Gore may be the oldest starting RB in the NFL this season, but he’ll probably still be the most productive one the Colts have had since Joseph Addai in 2007. Johnson is going to keep defenses more honest than Hakeem Nicks. And considering how much the Colts pass, Johnson should be much more than a decoy in 2015. Bringing in Trent Cole should boost the Colts defense considerably too. The Andrew Luck to T.Y. Hilton combo and the lack of competition in the AFC South make the Colts a contender, but these few new pieces — along with potential impact rookie Phillip Dorsett, — could spark to Super Bowl hope in Indianapolis and fantasy football championships everywhere.
*Defense-adjusted Value Over Average, a Football Outsiders’ advanced NFL metric, measures a team’s performance on a per-play basis. The metric attempts to limit variance and provides a more realistic measurement of how good a team is regardless of matchup or situation, making it a strong indicator of future success. Read more about DVOA.