Indianapolis Colts Progress Report: Where Things Stand Heading into Week 16

Nate Dunlevy@NateDunlevyGuest ColumnistDecember 18, 2012

Luck is constantly throwing under pressure.
Luck is constantly throwing under pressure.USA TODAY Sports

The Indianapolis Colts are 9-5 on the 2012 season and in second place in the AFC South. They currently hold the fifth seed in the AFC playoffs.

In Week 16, they head to Arrowhead Stadium to take on the Kansas City Chiefs.

The Colts rank 19th on offense, 32nd on defense and 28th overall in DVOA.

Primary Talking Point for Week 16

The Colts got a good sense of where they stand thanks to the Houston Texans.

While Indianapolis put up a good fight, there's no question the roster still has obvious gaping holes in talent.

The corners are bad, and the team still needs two starting caliber players at the position.

The offensive line is a complete wreck, incapable of holding up against elite competition.

Still, the Colts did plenty of things right schematically on defense, and the offense showed the explosive play capacity that has been its calling card all year.

Indy is looking for a playoff coronation in Kansas City this week. Beating the Chiefs won't carry the same luster or rewards that toppling the Texans would have, but it would serve as a nice topper to a special season.

Injury Outlook

Bruce Arians addressed the media yesterday and gave a brief injury update.

On the injury front, guys that were out last week, Kavell Conner, Tom Zbikowski, Samson Satele and Delone Carter will not play again this week.

Don’t know about the guys that played in this ball game, we’ll get some scans and MRIs and find out Wednesday who will be available this week.


Playoff Picture

The Colts have all but clinched a playoff spot.

There still exists a long chain of events that could keep them out, but the odds are so astronomical that they do not merit discussion.

What hasn't been locked down is their seeding. Indianapolis desperately wants to stay in the fifth seed in order to avoid traveling to New England in the first week of the playoffs.

The Colts' ideal playoff scenario is in place right now. They merely need things to stay as they are at the moment.

Indianapolis is looking at a trip to Baltimore in the wild-card round, and that's an attractive matchup for anyone. The Ravens look dead on their feet and are probably the weakest team that will qualify for the postseason.

Were the Colts to upset the Ravens, they'd probably get sent to Houston to face the Texans for the third time in five games.

Most importantly, they'd avoid Peyton Manning and Tom Brady for as long as possible.

It's unlikely the Colts are ready for a deep postseason run, but it's not impossible.

Feel-Good Stat of the Week

T.Y. Hilton is putting together one of the best rookie seasons for a wideout in Colts history.

His 44-catch, 716-yard, six-touchdown effort is already the fifth best rookie season for a Colts' pass-catcher, and he still has two games left to play.

Hilton broke Andre Rison's record for most 100-yard games by a Colt rookie by posting four.

On top of Hilton's six receiving touchdowns, he also has a seventh via punt return.

By the end of the year, he could easily wind up second or third on the list of most productive rookie wideouts for the franchise.

As an aside, Dwayne Allen also stands a good chance to make that list with another 100 yards over his final two games.

Troubling Stat of the Week

Much has been made about Andrew Luck's declining completion percentage over the last five weeks.

After hitting nearly 70 percent of his passes against Jacksonville, Luck has hit the skids and has completed just 100 of 202 passes over the past five games.

His yards per attempt over that stretch hasn't been bad (6.7), and while he's definitely started sailing some passes, the real issue seems to be the time he's had to throw.

Luck was sacked at least four times in three of the past five games, and 17 of his 37 total sacks have come during this recent stretch.

There are still plenty of good signs from Luck, and his rookie numbers stack up well against Peyton Manning's, but it's undeniable that he has taken a beating this season.

That's a function of the Colts being in contention. They simply can't afford to play it safe with Luck. They need him to carry the team, and that's going to mean more big hits down the stretch.

Overall Trend: Rising

Despite losing in Week 15, the Colts displayed their typical moxie and fight. They didn't collapse on the road against a superior foe, but fought hard and turned a blowout into a competitive game.

If they can lock down a road win in Week 16, they'll have firmly secured their playoff spot and picked up 10 wins on the year.

Almost as impressively, they'll finish the year 4-4 on the road.

For a young team figuring out how to win in the NFL, a .500 road record is an impressive feat.

Quotes courtesy of the Indianapolis Colts PR department via press release.


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