1 pointIt's no secret that a lot of fans and NFL pundits alike have all fallen in love with Chiefs QB phenom Patrick Mahomes and with "Star Wars" numbers like this who can blame them? For the average fan, this is an easy choice to pick who the winner will be this Saturday between the Chiefs vs Colts matchup. "Just go with the team with the better offense." For the true student of the game who knows how to look beyond the numbers on the surface or the highlight reels plastered on "Sportscenter," it becomes apparent who the real monster in the room is come kickoff. I don't care how fantastic Mahomes and the Chiefs have looked on offense, the Colts are the better team. They are the more balanced team and have a QB who's not only every bit as good as his opponent this weekend, but he also has something that his adversary doesn't have and that's playoff experience. Chiefs fans might not think that matters much come game time, but truth be told history has not been on the side of QBs playing in games in which they are making their playoff debut. You can look at the past two years alone just to get an idea of how teams fared playing in the postseason for the 1st time. Tyrod Taylor and the Bills? L. Jarod Goff and the Rams? L. Mitch Trubisky and the Bears? L. Deshaun Watson and the Texans? L. In fact, the only team to win their 1st playoff game with a QB who didn't have postseason experience was the Jags and Blake Bortles during that span. The Chiefs have arguably the worst defense in the NFL. That doesn't bode well going against a Colts team that can beat you a number of different ways. The Chiefs might have the better offense according to the numbers, but the Colts have the better defense with the better chance of stopping them than they will of stopping us. You saw the Colts bludgeon the Texans, a team that has consistently fielded a top 5 defense for over 10 years this past weekend. The Colts should have an easier time going against the Chiefs pedestrian level D in weather conditions that should favor the Colts as well. This team is built to win games on the road no matter what the elements are (Did I just say that?). Another thing that works in favor of the Colts is the difference in the level of preparation between Luck and Mahomes. When you look at Mahomes it's very easy to get caught up in the on-field theatrics he's known for. Mahomes wins a lot of his matchups with the athletic play from him rolling out of the pocket and extending plays with his legs. This is where Luck is much further along as a QB at this stage of their careers in that Luck knows how to "win" his matchups pre snap. Luck doesn't have to do the things that Mahomes does (Although he can) because he knows how to change the plays at the line of scrimmage in order to create mismatches against the defense before he even snaps the ball. At some point, Mahomes' style of play will eventually catch up with him due to his inability to preread a defense the way great QBs like Luck, Rivers, Ryan, and Rogers do. This truth was illustrated beautifully by Colin Cowherd on "The Herd." Luck is playing at a level that no other QB in the playoffs is at right now (Yes, I said that). There's a reason why this team (The Colts) has won 9 out of the last 10 games. Luck is "Manning" with the best Offensive line in football and a top 5 defense... That's downright scary to the point that it ain't even fair. Can you imagine how many rings the Colts would have during the Manning, Marvin, Reggie, and Edge era if they had the squad that Luck now has at his disposal? Don't worry, you won't have to because you're about to get a front row seat of what that looks like with Luck under center. I said this before the season started and I'm gonna say it again: "This is the best front office and coaching staff the Colts have had EVER..." Worried about the Pats? Don't be. They better win the SB this year because no one is going to be better the Indy over the next ten years. With the best GM in football and over 100 million in salary cap space to add to an already juggernaut of a squad this team is only going to get better and that's bad news for the rest of the NFL baby.
1 pointRemember when I told you guys back in the offseason that the Colts were in good hands with the new staff? I told you that the offense new head coach Frank Reich was bringing with him from Philly would be a perfect match for Luck's skill set. I also mentioned that I thought it would take by week 6 for the defense to come around and based that off of the team having so many young players who would need time to "figure it out" in a new system. Well if the first two games are any indication, the defense might not be far behind the offense. This young bunch of "I don't know any betters" spear-headed by the emergence of standout rookie LB Darius "The Maniac" Leonard has been nothing short of flat out amazing. When you compare this group to previous ones, the one thing that stands out immediately is the overall speed of the defense. I don't think I've ever seen a Colts team this fast from a trenches standpoint. I watched the game against the Redskins this weekend and couldn't help noticing how quickly the D-linemen shot of the ball and wrecked havoc on a Skins O-line that was predicted by many to man-handle the Colts to the tune of Adrian Peterson going off for 200 yards rushing. AP didn't even sniff 50 for the entire game. He didn't even sniff 30. From Marcus Hunt to Jabaal Sheard Indy's front seven was a force to be reckoned with all game. One guy who has been overlooked though has been the surprising play of Hassan Ridgeway. Ridgeway was a monster until he injured a calf in the 2nd quarter. I counted numerous plays where he fired of the ball so fast that he was literally in the backfield at the same time Alex Smith was handing the ball off (When's the last time you saw that from a Colts defense?). The surprising play from the defense this early can only be accredited to two things: 1) Chris Ballard's eye for talent. and 2) Players being prepared for each game by their coaching staff. It's no secret how I've felt about this coaching staff and from office we now have in Indy. I've said on more than one occasion that before its all said and done this current front office and coaching staff will go down as one of the very best we've ever had here in Indy. In fact, Chris Ballard should lock up Matt Eberflus NOW before the end of the season because there's no doubt in my mind that he will be a hot commodity come this offseason for a HC job and it will probably start after the first game we play against the Jags. I know everyone is on the Jags bandwagon and toting them as being the best team in football right now, especially after the way they beat the Pats last week. I, however, am not that impressed with them because I will never be a believer in Blake Bortles. He will only thrive in games where he is not required to carry his team on his shoulders. As long as you can stop the run and limit your turnovers against the Jags D, they are very beatable. I don't care what Bortles did last week against NE because I predicted the Pats will slide this year anyway. They really weren't that impressive last year and if we are all honest with ourselves, they haven't been since Darrell Revis was with the team. The Pats have had the luxury of playing in the weakest division in the AFC for well over a decade now and that has played a major factor in their continued "success." That said, the Colts should take a page from NE and do for Eberflus what the Pats did for Josh McDaniels. "Pay him. Pay that man his money." I'm not saying he should get the kind of money that McDaniels is getting, but I am saying at least make the effort to pay him enough to at least make him think about staying. Continuity is so important in this league especially when it comes to the coaching staff, or in the Colts' case keeping what could be one of the best staffs in the game intact for the long haul. I know it's still very early, but I'm still not backing down from my bold predictions for this year's Colts team. I think they will be more than ready to challenge the Jags for the AFC South crown and due to the edge at QB I think we are more than capable of winning it. Unlike most fans, I'm not judging the Jags off of what they did vs the Pats. I judge them off of how they looked vs an offensively inept Giants team led by an over the hill Eli Manning in week one. The Giants are a team the Jags should have dominated, yet escaped with a 5 point win with one of their scores coming from a pick-six by the defense. That doesn't exactly spell "Superbowl" team to me. Mark my words. The Colts will be a force to be reconned with this year and the coaching staff that is now in place will be a big reason why.