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Behind their daunting defense, the Indianapolis Colts are a sleeper Super Bowl contender

There’s been no shortage of intriguing storylines in the AFC so far this season. Josh Allen has transformed the Buffalo Bills into an offensive powerhouse. The Pittsburgh Steelers boast the same elite defense, and Ben Roethlisberger is back at the helm, too. The New England Patriots haven’t missed a beat in their transition from Tom Brady to Cam Newton. The Baltimore Ravens are blowing the doors off anyone not named the Kansas City Chiefs. And the Chiefs are, well, the 4-0 defending Super Bowl champs.

Quietly, though, a sleeping giant is lurking on the outside of the AFC Super Bowl conversation. Over the past three weeks, no defense in the NFL has been more dominant. No offensive line in the NFL has been more dominant. And still, you may not have heard much of anything about them.

The Indianapolis Colts were written off by many after an embarrassing Week 1 loss in Jacksonville. Since then, they’ve been arguably the most balanced team in the NFL. Offensively, they can put the ball in Philip Rivers hands — the 11th-highest graded quarterback in the NFL through four weeks — and have him distribute to playmakers such as T.Y. Hilton and the burgeoning Mo Alie-Cox. They can also pound it in with Jonathan Taylor and Nyheim Hines behind the best offensive line in the NFL.

Defensively, the Colts are one of only four teams to boast run-defense, pass-rushing, and coverage grades all ranked in the top-10 (the Bucs, the 49ers and the Bears being the others). Their 1.32 points per drive allowed mark is the lowest in the NFL by .22 this season.

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