Who will play in Super Bowl LVII?
By: Jake Rajala
The Indianapolis Colts will look to take a step from 2021 to 2022 that is similar to the Cincinnati Bengals improvement from 2020 to 2021. The Colts simply believe they can be the next surprise AFC team to play in the big dance. With that said, I’m going to untwine three reasons why the Colts goal of playing in Super Bowl LVII could come to fruition.
Strength of schedule
The Colts may not have the same overall talent as the likes of Cincinnati and Buffalo, but they certainly have an easier mountain to climb than CIN and BUF next season. The Bengals have the third-most challenging schedule, while the Bills have the 12th most difficult schedule next season. Meanwhile, the Colts have THE EASIEST schedule in the AFC in 2022-2023.
The Colts don’t only have an All-Pro LB in Darius Leonard, a behemoth in DT Deforest Buckner, and Frank Reich’s old pal in DE Yannick Ngakoue, but they also have a cream-of-the-crop CB by the name of Stephon Gilmore. It’s quite clear that the Colts have a well-rounded defense and I really expect Gilmore (who was ranked as the 14th best CB by PFF last season) to be pivotal against opposing WRs like Justin Jefferson, Davante Adams, Ceedee Lamb, and Devante Parker.
Matt Ryan is unequivocally a more talented QB than Carson Wentz, but he will still need his play-makers to be tuned in for the duration of the 2022 season. I trust in Michael Pittman Jr playing like a 1,000+ yd WR, but I am a big fan of the potential for WR2 Alec Pierce. I expect him to be the cherry on top – as he should be quite productive with matchups alongside Jonathan Taylor and Pittman Jr. Louis Riddick of ESPN even believes that Pierce could win OROY.