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Colts predictions: Best case and worst case scenarios in 2023-24 NFL season

Here’s a look at the range of outcomes for the Colts in the 2023 NFL season.

The Indianapolis Colts Josh Downs (1) makes a catch during a shared practice between the Indianapolis Colts and the Chicago Bears on Wed. Aug. 16, 2023, at Grand Park in Westfield Ind. Michelle Pemberton/IndyStar / USA TODAY NETWORK

The Indianapolis Colts are hoping that their new additions will help them turn a corner in 2023. The team drafted Anthony Richardson with the No. 4 pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, and are prepared for the Florida product to lead them on the field this season.

Indianapolis stumbled to a 4-12-1 finish last season as QB struggles sunk them again. The lack of stable play under center led the Colts to make another big swing by drafting Richardson early.

The 6-foot-4 QB could also struggle while transitioning to the NFL. If he experiences the growing pains of many rookie gunslingers, the offense will fail to produce, regardless of the talent around him.

Defensively, CB Stephon Gilmore left a gaping hole in the secondary unit, but star DT DeForest Buckner and the Indy pass rush have the ability to take over games. Two of the Colts’ victories in 2022 were a result of holding their opponent to under 20 points. They defeated the Kansas City Chiefs 20-17, and eventually the Denver Broncos 12-9. If the defense can provide that steam in more games this season, then it could release some pressure from the young offense.

In this scenario, the Colts compete for an AFC South title or Wild Card at nine or ten wins.

Colts best-case scenario for 2023

The ideal outlook will be if Richardson is capable of quickly validating his draft slot. He flashes the tantalizing talent that made him a top-five pick, and he also has the physique to endure contact through the long season. The hope is that he unlocks the full potential of WR playmakers Michael Pittman Jr. and Alec Pierce to produce significant yardage in the passing game.

Colts worst-case scenario for 2023

Alternatively, Richardson could struggle with his transition to the NFL. If he takes any steps back in his development, the offense won’t be able to recover with the thin depth they have at QB. The uncertainty about star running back Jonathan Taylor’s future with the franchise tosses even more concerns into the bucket.

In this nightmare scenario, the Colts’ offensive quandary continues. They fall to another last-place finish at four or five wins, putting them back to square one entering 2024 needing to address the QB position again.