Oddsmakers like what the Indianapolis Colts have done in free agency. RB Frank Gore comes over from the San Francisco 49ers while WR Andre Johnson leaves the Houston Texans and stays in the AFC North. Johnson joins Frank Gore, his college teammate from the University of Miami, in an attempt to unseat the perennial AFC power, the New England Patriots.
Kevin Bowen, Colts:
‘Well, where do you think you can win a Super Bowl at? If you had to pick a team right now, today…” Johnson said, turning the question towards Gore."

‘Well, where do you think you can win a Super Bowl at? If you had to pick a team right now, today…” Johnson said, turning the question towards Gore.

“And he was like, ‘Indy.’"

Johnson’s thoughts on that destination?

“That’s my same choice, too,” Johnson said to Gore. “Let’s do it. Let’s go for it.’”

As of February 2, 2015, odds for the Indianapolis Colts to represent the AFC in Super Bowl 50 were 14-1. After the free agents signings of Johnson and Gore, the odds dropped to 8-1. New England remained constant at 7-1, even withstanding the loss of CB Darrelle Revis to the New York Jets.

Akshay Anand, ProFootballFocus:
During the 2014 regular season, the Colts threw a total of 614 times. By contrast, the Texans threw the ball 455 times over the same span. A declining Reggie Wayne saw 110 targets, while Johnson saw 141. Johnson should see at least the same amount of targets as last year because of the volume differential, and the quality of targets will be higher.

With wide receivers Hakeem Nicks released and Reggie Wayne retired, the Colts have upgraded their receiving corps with the signing of Andre Johnson. Indy QB Andrew Luck passed for over 4700 yards in 2014. His primary target was WR T.Y. Hilton who grabbed 82 passes for 1345 yards. Rookie WR Donte Moncrief from the University of Mississippi had a solid campaign with 32 catches for 444 yards. This year's trio should be an upgrade from 2014.

The Colts' run game ranked 22nd in the league in rushing yards per game and average yards per attempt in 2014. Former first round pick, Trent Richardson was released and signed with the Oakland Raiders. Richardson was a major disappointment in Indianapolis last season, rushing for just 458 yards and 2.9 yards a carry in 14 games. The Colts suspended Richardson for two games after he missed practice the day before January's AFC championship game. New England pummeled the Colts, 45-7.

The Indianapolis Colts vastly improved their running game with the signing of Frank Gore. The 10 year veteran of the San Francisco 49ers has rushed for 11,073 yards, including 1106 yards at 4.3 yards per carry in 2014. Gore has averaged 4.5 yards rushing in his career. With a solid running game to complement franchise QB Andrew Luck, the Colts' offense should have better balance in 2015. The Colts need to limit the running attempts of QB Andrew Luck who ran 64 times for 273 yards in 2014. Luck was sacked 27 and fumbled eight times. Frank Gore will help cut down deficiencies in both of those categories.

The biggest issue facing the Colts may be the status of head coach, Chuck Pagano. The lame-duck coach enters the fourth and final year of his contact. It was just two years ago that Pagano missed the entire season due to leukemia. His replacement, Bruce Arians get credit in leading the Colts to an 11-5 record in 2012. QB Andrew Luck gets the lion's share of the credit for 11 win seasons in 2013 and 2014.

Mike Wells, ESPN:
The over-30 players the Colts signed -- running back Frank Gore (31), receiver Andre Johnson (33), linebacker Trent Cole (32), offensive lineman Todd Herremans (32) and safety Mike Adams (34) -- all play positions of need for them.

The Colts believe they have gotten better since the January 17, 2015 AFC Championship Game. Oddsmakers tend to agree with them. Unless they solve their head coaching situation, the gap between the Colts and the Patriots will only widen.

Paul Murphy is a freelance writer from New Hampshire.

Follow me on Twitter at @_prmurphy

For more of my articles, click here.

Paul Murphy 3/27/2015 09:23:00 AM Edit

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