The Indianapolis Colts are heading into the 2021 season with a new quarterback under center for the fourth consecutive season. With Phillip Rivers retiring from the NFL, the Colts acquired Carson Wentz from the Philadelphia Eagles to be their new starter under center.
Indianapolis will be looking to build upon their 11-5 2020, in which they finished top-10 in the NFL in both offense and defense. With a good roster from top to bottom, the Colts are in a position to succeed once again this season.
What can we expect from Indianapolis? Here are five bold predictions for the team in 2021.
5. Carson Wentz Starts Every Game
There were two things that derailed Carson Wentz’s career with the Philadelphia Eagles; injuries and turnovers. He injured his knee during the 2017 season when he was looking like the league MVP and never truly regained that form.
He did relatively well in 2019 when he appeared in all 16 games, but last season the wheels came all the way off. Wentz threw an NFL-high 15 interceptions and was sacked an insane 50 times despite playing only 12 games.
The Eagles were unable to put him in the best position to succeed, so a change was necessary. With the Colts, Wentz will get back to looking like the guy who almost won MVP just four years ago. He will start every game for the Colts and make the Pro Bowl as well, getting his career back on track.
4. Darius Leonard Adds Elite Passer To Resume
Darius Leonard has been one of the best defensive players in the NFL since he was selected 36th overall by the Indianapolis Colts in 2018. He was named Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2018, being named to the All-Pro Team.
Oddly enough, he didn’t make the Pro Bowl team that year but was on it in 2019 and 2020. In 2020, he was an All-Pro again.
Leonard has cemented himself as one of the best linebackers in the NFL as a tackling machine and a good player in coverage for the Colts. This season, they will unleash him even more getting after the quarterback.
Leonard will rack up a 10-sack season in 2021, becoming a vaunted pass rusher and giving opposing offenses another thing to worry about.
3. Parris Campbell Leads Team In Receiving
The Indianapolis Colts have put together quite an impressive receiving group heading into the 2021 season. T.Y. Hilton is the most recognizable name, but the depth chart is littered with good players.
Michael Pittman Jr. is a popular breakout candidate. Parris Campbell has played well in OTA’s after suffering an injury last season. Zac Pascal, Dezmon Paton, Mike Strachan and Tarik Black are a few other names to keep an eye on.
While the offense is predicated on spreading the ball around, it will be Campbell that emerges as the hot hand. He will lead the team in receptions and receiving yards in 2021, followed closely by Pittman.
2. Jonathan Taylor Leads NFL In Rushing Yards
There is a lot of hype surrounding Jonathan Taylor as he heads into his second season in the NFL. The former Wisconsin Badger had a great rookie season, rushing for 1,169 yards and 11 touchdowns.
Taylor will face some competition from Marlon Mack, Nyheim Hines and Jordan Wilkins, but he will prove too productive to take off the field. He will lead the NFL in rushing yards this season, taking that mantle away from his AFC South rival Derrick Henry of the Tennessee Titans.
Taylor will rush for 1,600 yards this season as the focal point of the Colts’ offensive attack.
1. Colts Win AFC South
The AFC South looks like it is going to be a two-horse race this season. Between the Indianapolis Colts and Tennessee Titans, one of those teams will be taking home the division title.
In 2021, it will be the Colts who will sit atop the standings at the end of the season. Indianapolis has not won the division since 2014 when they lost in the AFC Championship game to the New England Patriots.
In addition to the division title, the Colts will win their first playoff game since 2018, when they defeated the Houston Texans on Wild Card weekend before losing to the Kansas City Chiefs.