Eric Hartz: Jim Caldwell had a couple of tough decisions to make last week a on pair of fourth-and-1's late in the game. The first time, he opted to punt, and the team downed the ball on the half-yard line. On the second, he opted to go for it, and Donald Brown was stopped short. The defense ended up making the plays to seal a two-point win, so things worked out for the new coach, who got his first NFL victory. So far, he seems to know enough not to mess with a good thing. He was the team's longtime quarterbacks coach, so he knows what he's got in Peyton Manning and offensive coordinator Tom Moore, but can also make his voice heard if need be. On defense, he's got a solid philosophy in place and he seems to be letting Larry Coyer add his tweaks as he sees fit. I guess the results will really answer this question, so we'll have to wait until the end of the year.
Q: The Colts have won at least 12 games an NFL-record six consecutive years; are you anticipating this being number 7?
EH: A lot depends on the early going. The win over the Jaguars was key, but after a tough road game against the Dolphins on Monday night, the team has another long road trip, visiting NFC champion Arizona for a Sunday night game. Add in AFC South road games against Jacksonville, Houston and Tennessee, a home date with New England, a hostile trip to Baltimore and a bone-chilling finale in Buffalo, and five or more losses seems possible. I like their chances if they can start the season 3-0, however, and steal a couple on the road in the AFC South.
Q: What is your prediction for Monday night's game, and why?
EH: I think points will be at a premium. The Colts will have their hands full with Jason Taylor and Joey Porter, who will be coming at Manning full force — particularly if the running game continues to struggle. But I think the defense will be fast enough to hold the Dolphins running game in check and force a couple of drives to end in field goals. Colts win, 17-13.