INDIANAPOLIS COLTS (11-6)
New faces: QB Carson Wentz, LT Eric Fisher, DE Kwity Paye, OT Julie’n Davenport, QB Sam Ehlinger, TE Kylen Granson, WR Mike Strachan, DE Dayo Odeyingbo.
Key losses: QB Philip Rivers, LT Anthony Castonzo, LB Anthony Walker, DE Denico Autry, DE Justin Houston, S Malik Hooker, offensive coordinator Nick Sirianni.
Strengths: Wentz is trying to revive his career behind one of the NFL’s top offensive lines and with a stronger supporting cast than he had in Philadelphia. But he needs to stay healthy — and out of the COVID-19 protocols. Jonathan Taylor and Marlon Mack provide a strong running tandem, and All-Pros DeForest Buckner and Darius Leonard lead a defense that believes it can be one of the league’s best.
Weaknesses: Julie’n Davenport will likely replace longtime left tackle Anthony Castonzo in Week 1 — and until Fisher, a two-time Pro Bowler, returns in late September or early October. Kwity Paye and Kemoko Turay need to become consistently productive edge pass rushers. And while the depth at receiver appears better, Michael Pittman Jr. and Parris Campbell must take big steps in 2021.
Camp Development: Wentz (foot), Fisher (Achilles tendon) or All-Pro guard Quenton Nelson (foot) missed most of training camp, but that gave Indy a chance to build depth at quarterback and along the offensive line.
Fantasy Player To Watch: Though Taylor had an up-and-down rookie year when Mack went down with a season-ending injury in the opener, he ran for 819 yards and eight TDs in the last seven games. Now the starter, he’ll carry a heavier workload in 2021.
FanDuel Says: Win Super Bowl: 30-1. Over/under wins: 8 1/2.
Expectations: Indy made the deal for Wentz with the belief he will re-emerge as a franchise quarterback. It’s a big bet. But a healthy and productive Wentz could take Indy’s offense to the top tier. Pairing that with a young, confident and still improving defense could make Indy a serious AFC contender.
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