It is true that despite some concerns for the future, the Colts will return every starter from last season except Ryan Lilja. Additionally, this will be the second season that the defense will be playing under defensive coordinator Larry Coyer and Jim Caldwell's second year as head coach. The development of players under both Coyer and Caldwell certainly would suggest a strong possibility that the team will play better together as a unit, particularly in a defensive system that until 2009 was unfamiliar to players who played their entire careers under two different defensive minded coaches in Tony Dungy and Ron Meeks.
Consider the development of Donald Brown, Jerraud Powers, and Jacob Lacey along with the return of Anthony Gonzalez, Bob Sanders, and Adam Vinatieri and there is even more reason to have confidence in the Colts chances to get back to the big game. These things make it unsurprising that the Colts have the best odds at 7-1, with San Diego at 8-1, and New Orleans at 9-1 as the early favorites for to write the next chapter in NFL greatness.