Indianapolis Colts Progress Report: Where Things Stand Heading into Week 11

Nate Dunlevy@NateDunlevyGuest ColumnistNovember 13, 2012

Robert Mathis has a sack in every game he's played in. He needs to play in more games.
Robert Mathis has a sack in every game he's played in. He needs to play in more games.Thomas J. Russo-US PRESSWIRE

The Indianapolis Colts are 6-3 and in second place in the AFC South.

In Week 11, they travel to Foxboro, Massachusetts to take on the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium.

The Colts rank 15th on offense, 32nd on defense and 27th overall in DVOA.

Primary Talking Point for Week 11

What once was a whisper is now a shout.

The Indianapolis Colts are thinking playoffs.

Internally, the Colts are just trying to figure out a way to upend the once-mighty but still formidable Patriots. Externally, talking about the postseason is all the rage.

The Colts got a much-needed rest after dumping the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 10, and now they'll face a Patriots team that can still hang points on any team in football.

A win may be unlikely for Indianapolis, but a strong showing from a young team against one of the elite powers in the conference would be something to build on.

Injury Outlook

The Colts' injury list grows longer by the week. While they get rookie Josh Chapman back from injury, they have now relegated corner Jerraud Powers and tackle Drake Nevis to injured reserve, ending their seasons.

The team hasn't issued any updates on the other starters who missed the Jaguars game.

Robert Mathis, Coby Fleener, Winston Justice, Samson Satale and Vontae Davis were all inactive last Thursday.

They will likely give insight to the return of several of the players later in the week. Satalae, Justice and Mathis all played against Miami in Week 9.

Player on the Rise

It's hard to argue with Darius Butler in this spot.

The former Patriots second-round pick was picked up by the Colts as a free agent on September 25th during the bye week.

He's played in just four games, but after his two-interception start against Jacksonville, Bruce Arians is likely going to stick with him.

Butler isn't without talent but has struggled mightily in the NFL. Indianapolis' secondary is one of the worst in football, however, and with Powers on IR, Butler has an open door to playing time.

As badly as Cassius Vaughn has played, it's hard to argue with Butler seeing the field more often.

Feel-Good Stat of the Week: 21.2 Percent

That's how much the Colts' playoff odds skyrocketed in the last seven days.

Indy now posts a 44.9-percent chance of landing a wild-card berth. The numbers would be higher, except for the troubling stat that follows this section.

The Colts have more than double the odds of any of the teams that trail them.

There's no one team Indianapolis has to worry about. It's more a case of there being so many different contenders, that the odds are still better than 50-50 that one of them goes on a run.

Indianapolis has no easy road to nine wins, but should they get there, they can rest assured they aren't going to get passed from behind.

Troubling Stat of the Week

Do the Colts have the worst defense in football?

The Football Outsiders think so.

That doesn't jive well with their middle-of-the-pack ranking in points allowed.

Part of the reason the Colts rank so low defensively is due to schedule adjustments. They currently have the 32nd-ranked pass defense and the 31st-ranked run defense.

Their actual non-opponent adjusted numbers aren't nearly that bad. Non-adjusted, the Colts rank more like 27th overall. Their pass defense should be more like 24th.

Those numbers aren't great, but they line up more with the results on the scoreboard.

The scary thing for the Colts is that they've played the easiest slate of opposing offenses in football.

Of their nine games, seven were against teams ranked 25th or lower.

They still have four of seven games against top-12 offenses left on the schedule.

The Indy defense could be primed for a major collapse down the stretch.

Overall Trend: Rising

With a four-game winning streak, including two tough victories in a week, the Colts are clearly on the upswing.

The young team gets a little bit better every week, and while there is still a long way to go before the team is ready to be considered one of the best in football, they clearly have as much right to a playoff spot as anyone in the AFC.

Flawed or not, the Colts will be a factor and play relevant games all the way through December.

It's more than anyone could have asked of them.

Injury news courtesy of the Indianapolis Colts via press release.


    2018 Is a Defining Year for Cam

    NFL logo

    2018 Is a Defining Year for Cam

    Mike Tanier
    via Bleacher Report

    Ranking Expectations for Rookie QBs

    NFL logo

    Ranking Expectations for Rookie QBs

    Brent Sobleski
    via Bleacher Report

    Does Greg Hardy Deserve a Second Chance?

    NFL logo

    Does Greg Hardy Deserve a Second Chance?

    Jemele Hill
    via The Undefeated

    NFL Players Respond to Trump's Pardon Request

    NFL logo

    NFL Players Respond to Trump's Pardon Request

    Mike Chiari
    via Bleacher Report