The Indianapolis Colts franchise took a serious blow right before the start of the 2019 regular season.
Towards the end of the preseason, superstar quarterback Andrew Luck retired. Despite being just 29, Luck called it quits. This took the Colts from legitimate Super Bowl contenders to a team people thought could find themselves with a top draft pick in 2020.
However, they managed to stay in playoff contention.
Although the Colts did not make the postseason, they were still in the hunt come Week 17. Ultimately, their 7-9 record was not good enough to warrant them a playoff spot.
Still, though, the team went a lot further than anyone expected, with Jacoby Brissett at the helm.
Now the Colts have a new quarterback. This offseason they went out and made a pretty big splash in free agency. They did so by signing Philip Rivers.
To this point in his career, Rivers has only played for one team – the Los Angeles Chargers. He’s played for the franchise since 2004 and has been their full-time starter since 2006.
In that time, he has a number of truly spectacular seasons.
However, he also struggled mightily in 2019, throwing 20 interceptions compared to 23 touchdowns. It was one of the worst seasons of his career.
So why should Rivers be any different? Why will he get the Colts back to the playoffs?
A few reasons.
First of all, even in his down year, Rivers brings more electricity to an offense than Brissett does. He will get the offense moving pretty rapidly.
It also helps that those turnovers were coming at a much lower rate each of the two seasons prior to 2019.
In 15 games last season, Brissett threw just six interceptions. That’s definitely something that can help a team win. Especially something that can help a team win more than Rivers’ 20 interceptions.
However, with those six interceptions, Brissett had just 18 touchdown passes and 2,942 yards. The offense was not moving.
Rivers will keep the offense moving.
This is also the best line Rivers will have played with in his career. The Colts offensive line is absolutely stacked. And that could help the quarterback cut back on the mistakes.
While he doesn’t have Keenan Allen and Austin Ekeler, you can’t complain about T.Y. Hilton and Marlon Mack.
Finally, the strength of the division. This is not necessarily something that pertains only to Rivers. It wouldn’t matter who the quarterback was for Indianapolis, they would still be in the current AFC South.
That’s an AFC South with the Jacksonville Jaguars (who have had just a terrible offseason).
You could argue that the Houston Texans will still be really good, but losing DeAndre Hopkins (who you could make a case for as the best wide receiver in football) definitely stings. Not only that, but it seemed out of the blue, could it create some issues?
Finally, there are the Tennessee Titans. Not to sound like a hater, but do we really trust Ryan Tannehill? The quarterback that threw for 160 total passing yards combined in Tennessee’s two playoff wins?
I’m not saying Tannehill can’t repeat some of that regular-season magic. But even then, the Titans went just 9-7 and barely sneaked into the playoffs.
The AFC South isn’t the worst division in football. However, there are some pretty glaring flaws for all the other teams in the division. The Colts are the team with the fewest issues.
Due to that, there’s no reason to believe Rivers can’t lead them to the playoffs in 2020.