Each week, we’ll be scouring the net for team rankings, from football experts, covering the previous week, and discussing them here. Let’s see what they have to say this week.
Average Ranking: 5.38 (previously 4.54) – Injuries continue to mount, and rankings continue to slip.
CBS Sports – Pete Prisco – 4th (no change): The loss of tight end Dallas Clark for the season really hurts this team in what they do offensively. Now even more will be asked of Peyton Manning.
(That’s the popular theory, but I’m not completely convinced. Seems to me, this team really believes in ‘next man up’, and whether it’s a tight end like Tamme or Eldridge or a wide receiver like Gonzalez or White, I believe someone will step up big time, and Manning will continue to do what he does… find the open man.)
Cold Hard Football Facts – 5th (-1): Heard much about Reggie Wayne this year? Nope … even though Wayne is on pace for 120 catches and 1,605 yards. That’s how good this guy is, and why the loss of Austin Collie and Dallas Clark doesn’t seem to worry anyone too much. Oh, and that Manning guy.
(Reggie just quietly does his job; and better than almost any other wide receiver in the league. And yes, the next man up will help keep the Colts offense moving.)
ESPN – Kuharsky – 6th (-1): The Colts are depleted by injuries. Watch an unlikely hero emerge Monday in crucial AFC South game vs. Texans.
(The Atlanta Falcons replace Indy as the #5 team this week.)
Fox Sports – 6th (-1): The loss of Pro Bowl TE Dallas Clark could be potentially devastating to one of the NFL’s best offenses. However, the team is very high on his replacement, Jacob Tamme. The injuries don’t stop there, unfortunately. RB Joseph Addai’s shoulder injury and WR Austin Collie’s hand injury will test the depth on Indianapolis’ offense.
(‘Devastating’ seems a bit strong, but I guess we’ll have to wait and see. Indy loses it’s #5 spot to Lil Bro’s NY Giants.)
National Football Post – 6th (no change): Host the Texans on Monday night in a crucial AFC South game.
(Not sure about you, but the word that jumps out at me in their comment isn’t ‘crucial’… it’s ‘host’. Yes, the game is important, but home is moreso, and the Colts will prevail.)
NFL.com’s Collective Brain Trust – 7th (-2):
(Both the Titans and Giants leapfrog Indy this week.)
Michael Silver – 6th (no change): If Pat McAfee’s police report is even half true, don’t you get the feeling the arresting officers laughed so hard they had to call for backup?
(Assuming Pat’s backup punts well this Monday and Pat comes back a little wiser, we’ll all be able to laugh about this… eventually.)
Sporting News – 4th (no change): Peyton Manning isn’t afraid of any challenge, but he has a big one without TE Dallas Clark and WR Austin Collie.
(Clark, yes. Collie, perhaps. Frankly, it’s Addai I’m concerned about.)
Sports Illustrated – Don Banks – 5th (-1): The last time we all fretted about the Colts losing a major cog in their passing game, Indy trotted out Austin Collie and survived quite nicely without Marvin Harrison. But there’s considerably more slack to pick up this time with tight end Dallas Clark being lost for the season with a wrist injury, and Collie just having undergone surgery on his right thumb. Everyone has moved the ball against the Texans’ pass defense this season, but the Colts and Peyton Manning might have to take a piecemeal approach on offense Monday night at home against Houston.
(Everybody’s talking about the missing pieces on offense. Something tells me the defense is content no longer being the center of attention.)
Sports Illustrated – Peter King – 6th (-1): Good thing the Colts had the bye this week. Peyton Manning went to Lourdes, from what I hear, and brought back some holy water for his battered receivers.
(Peter moves Tennessee ahead of Indy this week.)
USA Today – 7th (-4): Must adjust to life without Pro Bowl TE Dallas Clark.
(The folks at USA Today drop the team four spots replacing them with New England, Baltimore, Atlanta, and Tennessee.)
Walter Football – 3rd (no change): If Peyton Manning wins only one Super Bowl in his career, he can blame Bill Polian. For some reason, Polian insists on sticking Manning with liquored-up kickers and punters. How about you find some special-teamers who aren’t alcoholics, Bill?
(Time will tell how punter Pat McAfee responds to the Canal incident. I’d like to think it settles him down a bit; otherwise, his time in Indy may be short.)
WEEI in Boston – 5th (no change): 4-2 Peyton Manning is facing one of the biggest tests in his career. Can No. 18 continue to win games with his receiving core in shambles, or will injuries finally put a stop to the Colts’ long run of success?
(We’ll know in a week, but my money is on Peyton.)