CBS Sports calls Colts ‘sneaky sleeper’ to eclipse projected 2024 win total

According to CBS Sports Will Brinsonthe Indianapolis Colts are a ‘sneaky sleeper’ to eclipse their projected 2024 win total—and he’s bullish on the Horseshoe’s outlook:

Indianapolis Colts

Over 8.5 (+105) / Under 8.5 (-125)

I’m definitely bullish on the Colts at this price. Anthony Richardson’s health is going to be a talking point, as it should be. But Shane Steichen has gotten the most out of quarterbacks everywhere he goes and if Richardson stays on the field, this offense will be a problem, particularly with a healthy Jonathan Taylor, a fully paid Michael Pittman, a second-year Josh Downs and Adonai Mitchell added to the wide receiver depth chart. Laiatu Latu gives them another big-time pass-rushing piece and Gus Bradley’s 28th-ranked defense can’t be much worse than it was last year. The third-place schedule means matchups against the Giants, Broncos and Steelers … just the absolute best possible draw out of all three divisional matchups for the AFC South. The Colts outperformed their win expectancy by a full game and went 6-3 in one-score games last year, which is a concern for a possible fall back. But they did that with Gardner Minshew under center; obviously if Joe Flacco’s got to start a bunch of games my opinion would change (maybe). There’s a real chance for a hot start, plus a Week 14 buy and a really nice closing four-game stretch here. At plus money I’d be in on the over for sure.

Pick: Over 8.5 (+105)

There’s real real for optimism in Indianapolis for this upcoming season. The Colts were arguably a late 4th down drop from a playoff berth in the regular season finale and ultimately winning the AFC South—and that was with their backup quarterback, Gardner Minshew, unexpectedly making 13 starts last year.

The Colts’ biggest addition will obviously be the welcomed return of 2nd-year quarterback Anthony Richardson, who had a tantalizing start to his debut campaign, before it was unfortunately cut way too short with a season-ending shoulder injury.

Richardson’s upgraded arm strength over Minshew should provide the Colts’ receivers more downfield opportunities, while also lessening the 8-men boxes that star workhorse Jonathan Taylor may theoretically face by keeping opposing defenses more honest up front. Not to mention, his dual-threat ability makes the Colts offense all the more dynamic and difficult to stop—especially in the RPO game when paired with the already uber-explosive Taylor.

While the Colts did well to shore up some needs through the NFL Draft, including at pass rusher (Laiatu Latu), wide receiver (AD Mitchell), and depth along the offensive line (Matt Goncalves and Tanor Bortolini), there are some major question marks in their defensive secondary at both outside cornerback and safety. Colts general manager Chris Ballard could still make a late offseason move to shore up the unit, particularly along the backend at safety, where there’s a handful of proven veteran options still available.

However, from his past recent precedent, it wouldn’t be surprising if he believes the Colts secondary has enough talent and ability already—and may shock some critics with their solid play next year.

At any rate, despite all of the recent C.J. Stroud hype, the AFC South appears to be entirely up for grabs. While the Houston Texans may be the early favorites, especially with the veteran Danielle Hunter and Stefon Diggs additions, don’t completely sleep on the Colts either.

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