Bill Barnwell claims with Peyton Manning this team would have struggled. Perhaps he's right, but I just can't see how.
Colts fans can take this as comforting or discomforting. On one hand, even if they had enjoyed 16 games of Peyton Manning, it seems likely that Indianapolis would have struggled to make the playoffs. Manning makes everyone else better, but there are just too many holes to sand over on either side of the ball, thanks to the absence of those star players. Only four of the Colts' 13 losses have come by a touchdown or less, so while they've been unlucky to go 2-12 (the record predicted by their point differential) as opposed to 0-14, they really just haven't been in very many of their games this season. With 16 games of Manning, the Colts would have likely been a 6-10 or 7-9 team. By failing so catastrophically, they'll get to draft Andrew Luck and begin the process of turning the franchise around.