The League

Gene Wang
Fantasy Guru

Gene Wang

A sports staff writer at The Washington Post

Don't Count Colts Out Yet

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Not by a long shot is the Colts' era done. Indianapolis will be a contender down the stretch this season and may be representing the AFC in the Super Bowl.

Sound ridiculous after a humbling loss at Green Bay? Maybe, but consider Indianapolis was missing Pro Bowl running back Joseph Addai and defensive player of the year Bob Sanders. Those two players will be back before long, and all this talk of the Colts' demise will become a distant memory.

Addai gives Indianapolis a big-play running threat and dramatically alters how defenses must prepare for the Colts. Dominic Rhodes is a fine backup, but he's no Addai, who is one of the best all-around backs in the league when healthy. He can run between the tackles, break a long run on a stretch play or turn a screen pass into much more than a first down.

With Addai out, defenses can concentrate on containing Peyton Manning and the passing game. The offense is essentially one-dimensional without Addai.

On defense, Sanders is as valuable to that unit as Manning is to the offense. Just remember 2006, when the Colts won the Super Bowl. Sanders missed a chunk of games in the middle of the season, and Indianapolis was completely vulnerable against the run. Then Sanders came back for the playoff run, and the defense suddenly became stout again.

If the Colts don't go on a run when those players come back, then perhaps Indianapolis really is an afterthought. Don't bury the Colts until then, especially with no dominant team in the league through the first half of the season.

By Gene Wang  |  October 21, 2008; 12:16 PM ET Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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