The Week 7 NFL slate provided us with many surprises. The New England Patriots, Chicago Bears, New York Giants, and Denver Broncos all entered the week with one win and left with two wins. The Atlanta Falcons are in first place. The Buffalo Bills might be on the verge of collapse. It's all weird.
As we approach the midway point of the season, with the Oct. 31 trade deadline circled on every calendar, it's time for some teams to make difficult decisions. Franchises will have to weigh the benefits of a postseason push against the long-term upside of trades and draft picks.
Teams at the bottom will have to decide if it's time to throw the towel, or if the Detroit Lions' 2022 campaign is at all replicable. Teams hovering in the middle will have to decide which direction to go. There's no use in hanging around the middle. It is time to push the chips in with a blockbuster trade, or time to reset for next season?
Here are three teams that should commence the fire sale right now, without second thoughts.
3. Indianapolis Colts
This is officially a gap year for the Indianapolis Colts, who will be without rookie QB Anthony Richardson for the remainder of the season due to a shoulder injury. Gardner Minshew and company put together a valiant effort in Sunday's 39-38 loss to the Cleveland Browns and their top-ranked defense. Some might even say the Colts were robbed.
Still, the fact remains. It's time to kick the proverbial can down the road.
Sunday's loss drops the Colts to 3-4 on the season, a full two games behind the first-place Jacksonville Jaguars in the AFC South. With Richardson out of commission, it's difficult to have faith in the team's offensive ceiling. Minshew is a career journeyman with a limited skill set. The Colts aren't necessarily out of it, but there's every reason to put stock in next season as the official launching point for the next era of Indy football.
Jonathan Taylor was the talk of the trade rumor mill for weeks before his extension. Still, the Colts have plenty of intriguing veterans — especially on defense with DeForest Buckner, Shaquille Leonard, and others — who would command high returns on the trade market. Offensively, it wouldn't be unreasonable to test the market for a veteran wideout like Michael Pittman, who is in a contract year.
The Colts might have enough juice to keep their season afloat in the weeks to come, but it's difficult to say with certainty. Indianapolis shouldn't necessarily gut the roster, but there shouldn't be many untouchables aside from Richardson. If the price is right, the Colts should operate with the longview in mind.