Will the run game and defense be enough to get the Indianapolis Colts a Super Bowl or do they need to build the passing game?
The Indianapolis Colts finished last season with one of the best run games in the NFL and one of the best defenses. During the offseason, Indy was able to keep many important pieces of the rushing attack and made tremendous additions to the defense.
Now, the likely plan is for the Colts to build up the passing attack in the NFL Draft. The hope is that Indianapolis can select one of the many talented receivers and tight ends and they can come in and have an immediate impact.
But what if things don’t happen like that? What if Indy drafts a receiver that struggles to find their footing at the next level and they can’t immediately provide the impact that everyone is hoping for?
Would that prevent Indianapolis from becoming a contender or is the running game and promising defense enough for the Colts to compete for a Super Bowl?
Do Colts need a passing game to win a Super Bowl?
The NFL has already done a lot of evolving and it is still rapidly changing. The modern game elite passing and high-scoring games.
Everyone points to the Buffalo Bills vs Kansas City Chiefs Divisional Playoff game as the new NFL. The belief is that teams must be constructed to win those types of games and the days of running the ball and relying on the defense to win are a thing of the past.
Recent Super Bowl champions also seem to support this belief. In the last four years, Super Bowl-winning offenses on average had the fifth-most passing yards a game in the league. However, they also had the ninth-best scoring defense, on average, in the NFL.
So, the saying, defense wins championships, is still partially true, but that defense must now be accompanied by an elite passing offense.
The last team to win it all that didn’t fall into these standards was the Philadelphia Eagles in 2017. That season, Philly averaged the 13th-most passing yards a game. That’s in the top half of the league but it’s nothing special.
What the Eagles did do well was run the ball and play defense. Philly averaged the third-most rushing yards a game that season and had the fourth-best scoring defense.
However, in order to win the Super Bowl, Nick Foles had to pass for 373 yards and three touchdowns in addition to the Eagles’ 164 rushing yards to outscore the 33 points put up by the New England Patriots.
While the NFL is already in a different place than it was five years ago the Eagles’ victory shows that it’s not impossible for the Colts to win it all by relying on a run game and great defense.
They just have to actually do those things well, believe in them, and impose their strategy against any team. Even still, there may come a time when a big passing day is needed.
However, an elite passing game is not needed to have one big passing performance. A team just needs a quarterback that can answer when their number gets called and receivers that can step up and play big for just one day.
With Matt Ryan under center, Michael Pittman Jr. at receiver, and whatever rookie is drafted, the passing game for Indianapolis doesn’t need to be special next year, it just needs to execute off what will be the Colts’ strengths: the defense and run game.