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On September 7, the Indianapolis Colts will hit the Sports Authority Field at Mile High Stadium against the Denver Broncos in the 2014 season opening game.

During the first three preseason games, the Colts remained relatively intact even though they were beat by the Cincinnati Bengals 35 to 7 in the final game and ended up 0-4. While this might indicate a poor showing for the 2014 season, only two starters played in the fourth preseason game, safety Mike Adams and offensive lineman Jack Mewhort.

Josh McNary ended up with seven tackles, Jonathan Newsome looked great on the field, and both Montori Hughes and Andrew Jackson made impressive plays. The game opened with Marcus Burley and Josh Gordy as starting corners and Tyler Hoover played a lot of left tackle.

The second half of the game started with a three and out, they allowed a punt return TD, and then failed to protect the quarterback, resulting in a sack on the third down. While the Colts had a less than stellar 2014 preseason, they can still pull out the stops during regular season games.

Tyler Hoover who played defensive lineman during preseason has also put some time in at training camp with the offensive line so he could end up being a diversified player, Griff Whalen, who did not play in the final preseason game is a strong receiver, and Pat McAfee having received MVP for punting eight times, making a tackle, nd handling kickoff duties perfectly is expected to be a real asset.

The biggest anticipation is Andrew Luck, who many believe will have a breakout campaign in 2014. While he only threw 3,822 yards and had 23 touchdowns in 2013, he has an uncanny ability to win in a clutch. Now in his third NFL season, his touchdown to turnover ratio has improved, going from 28:23 to 27:11. Unfortunately, there was a lack of support during the 2013 season, which impacted his stats.

For the Colts to advance during regular season, the offensive line needs to prevent Luck from being harassed on the field. Trent Richardson is also a potential risk for the team. Acquired from Cleveland as the 26th overall pick in the 2014 NFL draft, he averaged only three yards per carry. For him to help the Colts, he has to show dramatic improvement. Even though the tackles, to include Gosder Cherilus and Anthony Castonzo, are okay, they allowed seven sacks so they too will need to tighten up.

Adam Vinatieri still gets the job done, but he turns 42 this year, making his age a detriment to the team at some point. Improvement is also needed in the special teams, having been outgained on kickoffs and punts.

Early in schedule, the Colts go up against two tough teams, the Broncos and the Eagles but after that, the schedule becomes easier. Because of Andrew Luck, the Colts rank as the best team in the AFC South but unless their defense gets stronger, they may not make it far.

About James Rhodes

James is an American born sports writer that covers all sports and has a passion for football at every level He began his journalism career then and has been published on numerous sports websites and publications

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