NFL 2018 power rankings countdown No. 20: Indianapolis Colts

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - DECEMBER 31: Quincy Wilson #31 of the Indianapolis Colts runs with the ball after a interception against the Houston Texans during the second half at Lucas Oil Stadium on December 31, 2017 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
INDIANAPOLIS, IN - DECEMBER 31: Quincy Wilson #31 of the Indianapolis Colts runs with the ball after a interception against the Houston Texans during the second half at Lucas Oil Stadium on December 31, 2017 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) /

A preview of the Indianapolis Colts ahead of the 2018 season.

Check back every day for a new 2018 team preview in this year’s NFL power rankings countdown.

Today’s team is the Indianapolis Colts.

20. Indianapolis Colts

Keegan’s highest rated player: Andrew Luck, quarterback

Biggest strength: Andrew Luck

Biggest weakness: Running back

Best offseason move: Drafting Quenton Nelson

Worst offseason move: Not drafting a running back earlier

Game to circle on calendar: Week 3, at Philadelphia

Breakout candidate: Malik Hooker, safety

Key players in contract years: Ryan Grant, Denzelle Good, Austin Howard, Margus Hunt, Al Woods, Matthias Farley, and Adam Vinatieri

Offensive preview

The Colts have one of the best quarterbacks in football in Andrew Luck, who appears to be healthy headed into this season. As long as Luck is healthy, this team will have a shot at the playoffs, but the supporting cast around him on the offensive side of the ball is lacking.

By far the biggest strength on this team is Luck, who will be an MVP candidate this season. But he is not the only good quarterback on this team. Jacoby Brissett showed he can be a reliable starter last year, and don’t be surprised if he is a starter somewhere else in a few seasons.

Expect Marlon Mack to be the Colts’ primary back this season. He showed some flashes in his rookie year. The Colts will miss Frank Gore, and they will have a fair share of struggles without him. This backfield lacks particular depth.

One positive with this Colts backfield is Nyheim Hines, who they were smart to draft. Still, the Colts should have targeted a running back earlier in the draft, considering the fact that names such as Derrius Guice and Ronald Jones were still available in the second round.

The only difference maker in this receiving corps is T.Y. Hilton, who is a true number one receiver. Outside of Hilton, the Colts’ best wide receiver is Ryan Grant, who has less than 1,000 yards and only six touchdowns in his four-year NFL career. Those are not numbers you want from your number two receiver.

The Colts have two decent tight ends in Eric Ebron and Jack Doyle. Doyle will be fairly reliable, and hopefully a change of scenery benefits Ebron. It’s fair to say that both of these tight ends will improve from their 2017 seasons, but I would temper your expectations beyond that.

The Colts, at one point, had one of the worst offensive lines in football, but this line appears to be improving. They are young on the interior part of their line, but both of their rookie guards have potential. Quenton Nelson will be above-average this season (he will also be an All-Pro someday), and Braden Smith should succeed this year as well.

Jack Mewhort‘s sudden retirement will hurt the experience of this offensive line, but the Colts still have three established veterans in Anthony Castonzo, Denzelle Good and Ryan Kelly.

Indianapolis’ offense will be productive in 2018, due to the fact they have one of the best quarterbacks in football, but the lack of skill position talent on this offense will ultimately halt their full potential.

Defensive preview

Defensively, the Colts lack the necessary combination of talent and experience to succeed. No matter how many points Luck puts up on the other side of the ball, it is likely the Colts will still be in close games due to their underwhelming defense.

It’s hard to believe in this Colts defensive line. The only players to watch will be Jabaal Sheard and Hassan Ridgeway. This unit with struggle when it comes to stopping both the pass and run.

Antonio Morrison and John Simon should be reliable starters at linebacker, and rookie Darius Leonard could contribute as well. This linebacking corps should be well-rounded, but the lack of talent on the defensive line will add unnecessary pressure to the linebackers.

The Colts have a cornerback with a lot of potential in Quincy Wilson; he was a borderline first-round talent coming out of college in 2017, and he could take a big leap in his sophomore season. The rest of the cornerback depth chart lacks talent.

The Colts have a talented young safety tandem with Malik Hooker and Matthias Farley. Hooker was one of the best defensive prospects in the 2017 draft, and despite the struggles he endured during his rookie year, he should have a good 2018. Don’t underestimate Farley either. If we see improvement from Hooker, Farley will likely follow suit.

This defense is underwhelming, and there are few veteran players worth believing in. The biggest bright spot on this defense going forward will likely be their young secondary.

Coaching staff/front office preview

The Colts made a good decision when they hired Frank Reich (even though he wasn’t their first choice). Reich worked wonders with Carson Wentz and Nick Foles in Philadelphia, and having a former quarterback will certainly help the Colts’ quarterback room. The Reich hire didn’t make the headlines quite like some of the other coaching hires this offseason, but it may be the best in the league.

Chris Ballard is one of the best young general managers in the NFL, and this team is on the right track with him. This roster still isn’t the greatest, but patience will be key. Ballard inherited a worse non-quarterback roster than the Cleveland Browns at the time of his hire, and he is gradually building this roster back up from the dead.

Overall outlook for 2018

This team has an MVP candidate in Andrew Luck, a new head coach with a lot of potential, and one of the best young general managers in football. Still, the rest of this roster is horrendous, and as a result the Colts could struggle to make it back to the playoffs this season.

Next. Packers 53-man roster predictions. dark

Previous teams:

21. Detroit Lions
22. Arizona Cardinals
23. Chicago Bears
24. Oakland Raiders
25. Baltimore Ravens
26. Washington Redskins
27. Cleveland Browns
28. Buffalo Bills
29. New York Jets
30. Cincinnati Bengals
31. Miami Dolphins
32. Tampa Bay Buccaneers