Colts Sign Rivers, Still SB Long-Shots?

Colts Sign Philip Rivers, 3/18/20 Indy Remains 2021 Super Bowl Long-Shot

On Tuesday afternoon, the Colts signed free agent quarterback Philip Rivers, formerly of the Chargers, to a one-year, $25 million contract. How much did Indy’s 2021 Super Bowl odds improve with the signing of the veteran quarterback?

The Worst Kept Secret is No More

Rivers was also expected to sign with the Colts and reunite with coach Frank Reich, under whom he had an excellent three-year stretch from 2013-15. Reich was the quarterbacks coach in 2013 before being promoted to offensive coordinator. Rivers now leaves the Chargers after starting 224 consecutive regular season games for them, which was the second-longest streak by a signal-caller in NFL history (Brett Favre is first at 297). Since the start of the 2005 season, the Chargers have only utilized two starting quarterbacks: Rivers and Drew Brees.

Are the Colts a good fit for Rivers?

For starters, Rivers should have a much easier time winning the AFC South than he did the AFC West, which of course is led by Super Bowl champion Kansas City. Rivers went 0-6 in division games with seven touchdowns and 12 interceptions a year ago, while posting a 5-5 record with 16 passing touchdowns and only eight interceptions against all other opponents. He’s also fared well versus the AFC South over his career, posting a .724 winning percentage versus that division, completing 69% of his passes for a Total QBR of 75. The Colts should offer Rivers better protection than the Chargers along the offensive line and while he loses Keenan Allen, he gains T.Y. Hilton, one of the more underrated receivers in the league when healthy.

Does Rivers have anything left?

This is the more important question. Rivers’ arm looked dead a year ago and his production fell off a cliff. How much of his poor play was impacted by his offensive line remains to be seen but the key here is that the Colts only signed him to a one-year deal. The team still has Jacoby Brissett under contract and while a team like the Patriots (who lost Tom Brady to the Bucs on Tuesday) might come calling for Bissett’s services, Indy is likely to hang onto him in case Rivers doesn’t have anything left in the tank. There’s a chance that Rivers could be cooked, as he threw 20 interceptions a year ago, tied for the third most by a quarterback 37 or older according to ESPN Stats & Info. He also posted his lowest Total QBR since 2012 (49) and had a career-high 10 interception on passes thrown of 20-plus yards, which perhaps an indication his arm is shot.

How much does the Rivers’ signing impact the Colts’ Super Bowl odds?

According to oddsmakers from online sports book Sportsbook.com, the Colts are now 30/1 to win the 2021 Super Bowl. Our NFL Futures Odds page shows that the Colts opened with 35/1 odds to win the Super Bowl, but that number had dropped to 40/1 over the past month. So clearly oddsmakers feel as though Rivers improves the Colts’ chances, but the team remains a long-shot nonetheless.

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