Week two at Indy.
Indy's media and fan base are very confident and optimistic. In a recent radio interview, beat writer Mike Chappell predicted Andrew Luck would start 16 regular season games, AND two playoff games. They think they are really good. They beat Miami last year in Indy. They may be looking past Miami again this season. They see that they've got the next golden boy at quarterback. To them Miami has a kid who only threw 12 TD's while in their eyes Miami is a pushover. After all, the likes of Mike Florio, Greg Rosenthal, Heath Evans, Jamie Dukes can't wait to trash the Dolphins over literally every move the Dolphins make, however unfairly, even if the Patriots would have made the exact same move it would have been hailed. Miami is dismissed and ridiculed on a national scale.
The Colts see their head coach coming back after a bout with cancer which we all applaud. The Colts see their biggest weakness, O line, being fortified with Cherilus at RT and Donald Thomas(!) at LG. The Colts are focusing on a shorter passing game so Luck will take less hits with Arians gone to Arizona. Their two young TE's are studs and are primed to explode this season. Hilton and Wayne are tough wideouts. Beyond that, Heyward-Bey is in at WR. Ahmad Bradshaw is in at RB. Never mind one is injury prone and one exhibited consistent lack of performance -- this is off season optimism time. The Colts see the Dolphins lose Jake Long at LT, Reggie Bush at RB, and Sean Smith at CB.
This will be a big test to see if Miami has really improved. Last year, a rookie Andrew Luck completed every 3rd and long he could find last season against a woeful Miami secondary. Honestly, last year's game was the game that got Sean Smith fired from Miami. He couldn't track the ball if his life depended on it. Smith is addition by subtraction. He played well against AJ Green and Fitzgerald and many of us wanted to extend him but after this game I was done with him. Another issue was that Long was awful. Coincidence, sure, but he is gone too.
As for the Colts, are they better? The guy that beat Long, Freeney, is gone too. Hilton was a kid who had injury problems previously but he stayed healthy last season. Let's see if that lasts. I expect the TE's to be much better. Bradshaw staying healthy is a roll of the dice. Donald Thomas? Heyward-Bey? Meh. Mediocre defense. Personally, I think the idea that Colts will play 2 playoff games is awfully naive. I see them taking a step back. They won, what 1 or 2 games in 2011. There was some flukiness last year, including the Miami game. And the Colts draft was nothing special to be honest in 2013.
Anyone being reasonable (and not having an agenda) would have to admit that Miami is much better than last season. The teams played a close game in 2012 which was really a farce with all that Sean Smith stupidity. Now Miami is markedly better. This is a game for the Dolphins to hit the Colts straight up in the mouth, kick their record to 2-0 and put the league on notice that Philbin is not the previous moron. The Colts' TE's and Luck do scare me. I do expect a tough game for sure. It's in Indy. But I expect Miami to play much better than last year. More pass rush, better secondary, and a couple of more big plays on both sides of the ball should tilt it the other way.
Overall, I think this game will be a good gauge for how much better Miami really is. Miami can get a big win on the road. Miami needs a big game because look at that early schedule. After that, it's Atlanta, New Orleans, and Ravens.