Don't bet against Peyton
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As a fan of the Houston Texans, I'd like nothing more than to be able to declare that the Indianapolis Colts are on their way to mediocrity or worse. Indeed, as a Texans fan, I'm intimately acquainted with mediocrity and worse. I know it when I see it, and I don't see it in the Colts.
No matter how bleak things may seem, the Colts will not ever slip too far as long as Peyton Manning is under center. He's the best in the business, and he will not allow his squad to fall off the map. No other player in the NFL has more responsibility for the success of his team, and no other player is more valuable to the well-being of his franchise. Tom Brady was lost to injury in Week One of the 2008 season, and the Patriots still went 11-5. If Peyton Manning ever has to miss a significant amount of time, the Colts likely wouldn't be favored to win a single game sans Peyton.
Even with Jim Caldwell -- whose expressionless visage and questionable strategic decisions can make one wonder if he's aware a football game is going on in front of him -- on the payroll, the Colts aren't going to fall out of contention until #18 decides he's ready to call it a career. Once that happens, we can officially declare the Colts are in decline. Not until then.
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