By Ana Krasuski // @ana_krasuski
Let’s start with a little background. October 29, 2006 was my NFL epiphany.
On that day the Indianapolis Colts visited the Denver Broncos in week eight of their historic Super Bowl winning season. This is also the day that I fell in love with football and decided to become a Colts fan.
I was born and raised in Denver, Colorado but never felt that I belonged to the Broncos fandom, partially because my father is a die-hard Buffalo Bills fan and a bonafide Bronco hater. I never really knew which team to follow until that October day when I watched Peyton Manning rocket 345 yards and three touchdowns.
Watching the connection between Manning and Reggie Wayne that day absolutely mesmerized me, and from then I was hooked. Adam Vinatieri‘s 37-yard field goal sealed the Colts’ win that allowed them to continue to a 12-4 record and the Lombardi trophy after defeating Chicago 29-17 in Super Bowl XLI.
Twelve years later, I’ve remained a loyal fan even through some tough seasons. I’m eager to see how the 2018-2019 season pans out for the Colts after a productive draft and offseason.
Here are three things I’m most looking forward to seeing from Indianapolis.
The Colts selected guard Quenton Nelson out of Notre Dame as the sixth overall pick in the 2018 draft. Nelson is said to be a favorite for a starting spot on the offensive line that severely struggled last season. Should Nelson keep Luck upright and create solid running lanes, the Colts offense could improve immensely.
2. A healthy Andrew Luck
A shoulder injury left Luck sidelined for the entire 2017 season and he has thrown the football very little since. In 2016, Andrew Luck stuck mostly to balanced, conservative passing that led the Colts to an 8-8 record and no post-season success. There is still much speculation surrounding Luck’s throwing arm because of the lack of public knowledge behind his progress. Though there are still setbacks on the horizon that Luck will face, he will more than likely reclaim the starting quarterback position and look to improve upon the Colts’ 30th rank in points scored.
3. The big games
Indianapolis opens up Sept. 9 against Cincinnati and quickly jump to big games early on in the season. Week three against the reigning Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles could prove to be a challenge with a newly constructed offense. Will the Colts be dominant enough to overtake teams like Philadelphia, New England and Jacksonville?
If Luck can get his groove back quickly and connect with probable starters (three receivers), the Colts should have a good shot at doing some damage in the AFC South. The adjusted offensive scheme under new head coach Frank Reich should be comfortable for a franchise QB like Luck, especially with the improved protection from the offensive line. Though there are many question marks remaining, the Colts should improve upon their 4-12 record in 2017.
Talk Colts with Ana on Twitter // @ana_krasuski