Welcome to the Colts’ 2018 season predictions. As we all know, the Colts’ season is 100% contingent on the health of Andrew Luck. Since the Colts are confident Luck will throw by training camp, this article is under the assumption that Andrew Luck is healthy. However, we truly do not know what is to come with Luck. Because of this, with each game, I will include a scenario where Luck is not healthy.
Week One: vs Cincinnati Bengals
21-17 Colts, 1-0
Andrew Luck reminds the world of what he is capable of, throwing for three touchdowns, slicing the Bengals’ secondary. The Colts’ young defense does just enough to keep Andy Dalton and the offense in check, double-teaming A.J. Green whenever they can as Quincy Wilson finds his legs. Joe Mixon runs for two touchdowns but the Colts’ secondary stifles Andy Dalton. Andrew Luck gets his first win in his first game back.
Without Luck: 28-10 Bengals, 0-1
Jacoby Brissett shows flashes with this improved offense but his one touchdown isn’t enough to stop Andy Dalton and A.J. Green. The Bengals’ defense is too much for the Colts’ offense to handle.
Week Two: @Washington Redskins
32-20 Redskins, 1-1
The Redskins’ monster interior defensive line stuffs the run and forces middle penetration, keeping Andrew Luck off balance all night. He throws for a score and runs for another but he throws two interceptions as well. The Redskins’ ground and pound style headed by rookie Derrius Guice wears out the Colts. Guice runs all over the Colts’ weak interior defensive line.
Without Luck: 35-10 Redskins, 0-2
Washington’s run game dominates the Colts; Derrius Guice scores three touchdowns. Jacoby Brissett can’t sustain a consistent drive, forcing the defense to stay on the field for an extended period of time, tiring them out.
Week Three: @Philadelphia Eagles
45-24 Eagles, 1-2
Frank Reich’s return to the home of the Super Bowl champs doesn’t go the way that he would have hoped. Carson Wentz has returned at this point and the Colts’ young defense has no chance to stop him. The Colts offense, despite the presence of Andrew Luck, doesn’t destroy the Eagles excellent defense and can’t put up enough points to supplement the defense. The Eagles have one of best rosters in the NFL and the Colts don’t have a chance against them.
Without Luck: 51-6 Eagles, 0-3
Without Andrew Luck to try and put up points, Jacoby Brissett has no chance to put a dent into this Eagle defense. Carson Wentz and co. dominate the defense, dropping 50 points in a complete blowout win.
Week Four: vs Houston Texans
31-28 Colts, 2-2
Texans’ GM Brian Gaine made some impressive additions to this roster, adding Tyrann Mathieu and Aaron Colvin to bolster the secondary. If J.J. Watt and the rest of the D-line is healthy, they will dominate. Luckily, last season the Colts had the fortune of playing the Texans twice without DeShaun Watson. If he is healthy, the Colts may have quite a bit on their hands. Yet, Andrew Luck knows the Texans better than anyone. He carries the Colts to this hard-fought home win, leading a game-winning drive where Adam Vinatieri adds another game-winning field goal.
Without Luck: 35-13 Texans, 0-4
Without Andrew Luck to compensate, DeShaun Watson rips the Colts’ young defense apart. Quincy Wilson does a nice job on DeAndre Hopkins but the rest of the offense does enough to dominate the rest of the defense. The Texans’ defensive line will dominate the Colts’ young offensive line.
Week Five: @New England Patriots
33-27 Patriots, 2-3
The Colts haven’t fared well against the Patriots in the Andrew Luck era and the losing streak continues here, unfortunately. The Patriots still have Tom Brady and the weapons to scorch the weak Colts’ defense. Andrew Luck and the offense fight valiantly but in the end can’t put up enough points to outduel Tom Brady. Still, the Colts are showing signs of improvement and are showing the world that they are better than many gave them credit for.
Without Luck: 45-14 Patriots, 0-5
The New England Patriots slaughter the Colts in Foxboro. Jacoby Brissett does an alright job against his former team but ultimately he can never beat a team with this high powered of an offense.
Week Six: @New York Jets
27-16 Colts, 3-3
The Jets actually have a better roster than most give them credit for. They signed Trumaine Johnson and Avery Williamson to bolster that already young and talented defense. The offense doesn’t boast any spectacular weapons but rookie Sam Darnold sits at the helm of the ship. He has all of the talent in the world to make this Jets team relevant again and I believe he could do that. Yet Andrew Luck and the Colts get their most compelling win of the season. Luck picks apart the defense and the Colts’ defense plays well enough to stifle Sam Darnold.
Without Luck: 20-17 Colts, 1-5
Jacoby Brissett finally leads his Colts to a win, scraping one out over the New York Jets. The Colts’ running game gets going and leads this team to a tough win.
Week Seven: vs Buffalo Bills
30-18 Colts, 4-3
The Bills drafted two players that could become franchise cornerstones in a few seasons in Josh Allen and Tremaine Edmunds. Fortunately, neither of them should be major contributors early. A.J. McCarron has been a solid backup for his entire career but I doubt he does much as a starting quarterback. To make matters worse, the Bills are completely deficient in weapons. And this year, the Colts won’t be playing Buffalo in a blizzard.
Without Luck: 16-13 Colts, 2-5
Jacoby Brissett rides the momentum he gained from his win in New York and picks up another at home here. He plays well enough to beat the Bills defense for a score and the Colts’ defense makes McCarron’s day very difficult.
Week Eight: @Oakland Raiders
32-28 Colts, 5-3
The Oakland Raiders made some very nice free agent signings, picking up Jordy Nelson, Doug Martin, and former Colts’ corner Rashaan Melvin. Their draft was very risky; they took players with potential but most of them could easily bust. Andrew Luck dominates this secondary that is still fairly weak and the Colts pick up another win at the halfway point of the season.
Without Luck: 25-17 Raiders, 2-6
Jacoby Brissett doesn’t do enough to keep up with the Raiders’ offense and the secondary can’t contain the duo of Amari Cooper and Jordy Nelson. This Colts’ team has shown flashes but it is clear they can’t win many games without their captain.
Stay tuned for the second half of the season predictions coming soon!
Ben Pfeifer is the Managing Editor of the Colts for Full Press Coverage, the AFC South Division Editor, and head NBA editor. Want to continue the discussion? Contact Ben Pfeifer on Twitter @Ben_Pfeifer_, @FPC_NBA and @FPC_Colts.