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Dust off the panic button

Hey, I'm as much a dizzy optimist as the next guy, when the weather's right. But some of the spin I'm hearing from the news that Peyton Manning underwent more neck surgery today, and is likely gone for the season, is ....

Well. Methinks some of these folks have been into the happy juice.

Here's the deal, folks: No team in the National Football League is as dependent on the talents of one man as the Colts are on Peyton Manning. He's the polar opposite of a system quarterback; he's not a product of the system, the system's a product of him.

Which is why the Colts have been foolish beyond foolish, putting all their chips on the flawed notion that Manning was always going to be around to answer the bell. It's the NFL, people. Sooner or later, everyone fails to answer the bell.

So ... I'm saying right now that if the Colts win seven games this year, Jim Caldwell should be the Coach of the Year. They have no running game -- anyone forgotten how Peyton passed on nearly every down last year? -- the O-line is shaky and the defense has the distinct look of a unit whose best days are behind it.

I'm saying 6-10. If they're lucky.

Ben Smith's blog.

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