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49ers-Colts preview: Where is Indy going the next 12 weeks?

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The Colts are 1-3, but expecting Andrew Luck back in the coming weeks. They’re in an odd position.

Indianapolis Colts v Seattle Seahawks Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images

The Indianapolis Colts are in an odd situation heading into Sunday’s game against the San Francisco 49ers. They are 1-3 and struggling to do much of anything. Chuck Pagano has somehow managed to hang onto his job in spite of a growing run of mediocrity. At the same time, they are hoping to get Andrew

back sooner rather than later.

If the Colts beat the 49ers and improve to 2-3, they’ll be no worse than one game back of the top of the AFC South. But even if they lose and drop to two games back, they’ll still be in the mix. With that in mind, I asked Brett Mock from Stampede Blue what expectations are likely right now for Colts fans. Can they turn this around, or are they a serious contender for a high draft pick? Here’s what Brett had to say.

In many respects, the outlook for the season comes down to the outcome on Sunday and how long it takes for Andrew Luck to return to the football field. The AFC South is still an under-performing division and at 1-3 Indianapolis is only one game out of a tie for first place. At the start of the season you circle must win games in order to keep pace, even in our awful division, and this game at home is definitely one of them.

There are six games remaining that we play against our division rivals, as we have not kicked off our division schedule yet. If we can manage to win five of those games, much of the rest of our big match-ups won't be as important. There is a very real chance that 9-7 would win the division. That means if Luck can return to the field with an improved defense and start getting the offense moving, the Colts could really surprise people in the second half of the season.

To this point, the Colts have played three games where there has been a tale of two halves. In the first half against Arizona, Cleveland, and Seattle we were in a position to win the game. Our total lack of ability to make half time adjustments left us with a ridiculous fourth quarter collapse against Arizona and a loss in overtime, a near collapse against Cleveland, and a franchise record offensive thrashing from the Seahawks. It has been very ugly in the second half of football games.

I suspect the season will be the same but opposite. The first half of this season will see us in contention for one of the top picks in the draft and near the bottom of nearly every "power ranking" that you come across. With Luck back in the fold, I suspect we will win 5 or 6 football games in the back half of our season. The team will look completely different and there will be some excitement to carry into the off-season -- and maybe even the playoffs.