Skip to main content

Instant Debate

Seahawks, Colts among 2014 playoff teams that should be worried

Five teams that made the playoffs in 2014 lost in Week 1. The Seahawks struggled against the Rams without Kam Chancellor. The Colts couldn't stop Tyrod Taylor -- who hadn't started a single game in four prior NFL seasons -- and failed to score until late in the third quarter against the Bills. The Steelers' offense faltered at the end of their matchup with the Patriots. The Lions gave up a commanding lead in San Diego. The Ravens stalled on offense and lost Terrell Suggs for the season in Denver.

Of course, it was only Week 1. But that doesn't mean these five squads don't have legitimate worries. Which former playoff team has the most cause for concern?

The Seattle Seahawks, 100 percent. First, they're still in the negotiating stages of trying to get back arguably one of their best players in Kam Chancellor. Second, the Arizona Cardinals and St. Louis Rams, who both won this week, are making a push to dethrone them. The NFC West isn't the division it was 10 years ago.

Seattle is missing a piece and is playing in a division where the other teams aren't scared of the big, bad bully anymore. All of a sudden, the kids at recess saw the bully get knocked out, so, No more taking my lunch money, is what the Cardinals and Rams are saying. It has to be Indianapolis, because of all the expectations coming in. With all of the offseason acquisitions, we thought the Colts would come out and look sharper as a whole, and that the defense would be a little bit better. We thought Frank Gore would add an element to the offense, along with Andre Johnson, and they just didn't look good in any phase of the game. Neither went for more than 40 yards against Buffalo.

Even Andrew Luck didn't look good. The fact that he's going to have to carry this team, again, is putting more pressure on him. Gore is supposed to take some of that pressure off and add more balance to the offense. Also, the defense is still having the same problems with the run. I'll say Detroit. For the Lions to give up a lead like they did Sunday, I think it speaks to what they don't have on the defense. To me, it looks like their defense isn't going to be as strong this season. Obviously, losing Ndamukong Suh to free agency was huge.

Because of the defensive changes, Detroit is going to have to rely on its offense to carry the squad. The Lions have found themselves on the outside looking in when it comes to the playoffs more times than not, and I think they're a team that probably won't make it this year. I'd go Indy. Right now, the team has Andrew Luck on a bargain contract. In his first three seasons with the Colts, they haven't improved a ton. They live and die by Luck, and he doesn't have much help. It really shows up at the line of scrimmage on both sides. That's where they're losing.

Indy was one of my picks to go to the Super Bowl this season, but after seeing the Colts play Sunday, it's clear to me the line of scrimmage is not at a championship level. You look at the Seahawks, last year's Patriots team, the Ravens a few years back. What was their success built on? The offensive line. If the battles aren't won up front consistently, I don't care how great your QB is. ... I take that back; when you're Tom Brady or Aaron Rodgers and you can get the ball out in two seconds, you can escape a lot. But Andrew Luck is not there yet. So we can get all excited about all those pretty bells and whistles Luck has to play with, but if he doesn't have time to operate, you see what happens.

And while the protection certainly needs to be better, so does Luck. He's still attempting throws that he just shouldn't be making, especially in Year 4. We're so in love with Andrew Luck the man, the talent, that we let him get away with mistakes we wouldn't let other quarterbacks get away with.

The other thing that concerns me about the Colts is their inability to stop the run. I'm a huge Chuck Pagano fan, so it pains me to say this, but he's a defensive-minded coach leading a team whose defense simply isn't getting better.

In Week 1 we saw all the mistakes that crippled the Colts last year: They can't stop the run, can't be tough when called upon and have a quarterback who is making significant bone-headed errors. That's not a recipe for a championship-winning team.

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.

Related Content