Better team. Worse record.
That's the Indianapolis Colts.
In 2012, they rode rookie quarterback Andrew Luck and used the emotion of not having coach Chuck Pagano most of the season to be the surprise team of the league and finish with an 11-5 record.
It will be difficult for them to top the seven come-from-behind victories they had last season. Veteran receiver Reggie Wayne admitted during training camp that some teams probably took them lightly last season.
The Colts won't be able to sneak up on opponents this season.
Luck will continue to get better, and the offense shouldn't have any problems scoring points with weapons at receiver, tight end and running back. But the Colts have a tough schedule, with games against San Francisco (road), Cincinnati (road), Seattle and Denver and two games against division foe Houston.
The offensive line, one of the weak links last season, has to prove it can do a better job protecting its franchise player. Luck was sacked 41 times last season.
The Colts are a playoff team as long as Luck remains healthy, and they may even make it past wild-card weekend, but they’re still another few players away from being talked about as Super Bowl contenders like New England and Denver in the AFC.
Predicted finish in AFC South: second