Are the Indianapolis Colts the AFC’s Super Bowl sleeper?

KANSAS CITY, MO - OCTOBER 06: Quarterback Jacoby Brissett #7 of the Indianapolis Colts calls out instructions against trhe Kansas City Chiefs during the second half at Arrowhead Stadium on October 6, 2019 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Peter Aiken/Getty Images)
KANSAS CITY, MO - OCTOBER 06: Quarterback Jacoby Brissett #7 of the Indianapolis Colts calls out instructions against trhe Kansas City Chiefs during the second half at Arrowhead Stadium on October 6, 2019 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Peter Aiken/Getty Images) /
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After Andrew Luck opted for retirement, there were a lot of questions surrounding the Indianapolis Colts. They are being answered in a big way.

Much was written about the Indianapolis Colts and what could happen to them this season following the stunning news that quarterback Andrew Luck would be retiring. The first pick in the 2012 NFL Draft had led the team to the playoffs in the four years (2012-14 and 2018) that he started all 16 games.

A season ago, he and the team overcame a slow start and Luck would be named NFL Comeback Player of the Year. Now in terms of the quarterback position, it would be up to Jacoby Brissett to fill some big shoes.

But those who have been paying attention know that general manager Chris Ballard has been building this team very smartly. The last two offseasons, it’s been more about the draft and less about free agency. And that’s why the Colts not only remain a solid team but a championship contender as well.

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When last we saw this team, head coach Frank Reich and company went into Kansas City and made things very uncomfortable for the previously-undefeated Chiefs. On Sunday, the Colts host the division-rival and 4-2 Houston Texans and a win enables the club to jump ahead of the defending AFC South champions.

Simply put, an offensive line led by the likes of left guard Quenton Nelson and tackles Anthony Castonzo and Braden Smith continues to get the job done. Brissett has thrown for 10 scores and been picked off just three times.

The Colts have surrendered only six sacks while just three teams in the league are averaging more yards per game (142.0) on the ground, with Marlon Mack (470 yards) leading the way. The ability to control the football has also aided a defensive unit that has had to deal with injuries to linebacker Darius Leonard and safety Malik Hooker.

There’s a lot to be said when it comes to the play in the trenches. Even without left tackle Jason Peters for the second half of 2017 as well as the postseason, the Philadelphia Eagles (with Reich as its offensive coordinator) rode their offensive front to a Super Bowl title that year. This past season, the Patriots played power football in the playoffs and their men up front, coached up by Dante Scarnecchia, were the catalyst to the franchise’s latest NFL title.

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So can the Colts’ offensive line, led by Nelson, Castonzo, Smith, etc., be the main factor in reaching the Super Bowl? Don’t bet against it.