Philip Rivers shouldn’t scare the Texans, but should the Colts?

Indianapolis Colts, (Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images)
Indianapolis Colts, (Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images) /

Philip Rivers won’t inspire fear for the Houston Texans, but the Indianapolis Colts are a team to be reckoned with.

After having to pivot quickly to Jacoby Brissett after Andrew Luck retired last August, the Indianapolis Colts faded in 2019, in line with Brissett’s knee injury to finish 7-9. In a push to win-now mode, with a dose of familiarity due to the coaching staff’s history with the Chargers, the Colts signed Philip Rivers to a one-year deal this offseason.

The context of a 5-11 season can’t be forgotten, in terms of game scripts and situations where he forced some throw. But Rivers had a down year for the Chargers in 2019, as his never-elite arm strength really seemed to fade. He’ll turn 39 in December.

The Houston Texans have won the AFC South the last two years, with the singular brilliance of quarterback Deshaun Watson overriding the ineptitude of head coach/general manager Bill O’Brien.

In Indianapolis, ineptness from the GM chair is not a concern anymore. Chris Ballard has drafted well and avoided bad deals in free agency, despite having plenty of cap space to burn. The Colts have one of the best offensive lines in the NFL, while quietly collecting talent to shape what has a chance to become one of the league’s best defenses. There’s quality depth across the roster, a further testament to the work Ballard and the front office has done.

The Colts are set to take back the AFC South

John Madden once famously said a quarterback is a great deodorant. That is the truest in Houston right now, where Watson covers up what seems to be a growing stench elsewhere on the Texans’ roster as O’Brien trades away draft picks.

The Texans will have a clear advantage over the Colts at the most important position on the field, with an in his prime Watson far better than the older and declining Rivers. But the talent level of the rest of the roster clearly tilts the other way, and if Rivers can take care of the ball the Colts are coming to take back the AFC South this year.

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