The big NFL news of the day on the transaction wire comes courtesy of the Indianapolis Colts, who signed quarterback Kerry Collins today to a deal to back-up Peyton Manning. The main issue for the Colts is whether or not the former Titans starter will see any significant playing time. Fans are hoping that Collins, or Curtis Painter for that matter, isn't needed for any game whatsoever.
The Kansas City Chiefs play the Colts earlier in the season -- in Week Five -- in a contest that's easily the most difficult on the front end. The back half of the Chiefs' schedule is incredibly difficult, so the pressure is on Todd Haley and his roster to play well from the outset given the difference in competition. For the Colts to possibly be without Manning provides a big advantage, even on the road at Indianapolis.
The reality is that the Colts live and die by Manning's success. If Manning sits out significant time, that makes the Chiefs young, dynamic secondary that much more potent against any back-up, whether it's Painter or a still-learning Collins. Even if Manning is still dealing with the injury to some degree, that still helps the Chiefs close the talent gap.
Last year, the Colts defeated the Chiefs in a close game that went down until the fourth quarter, when the Colts pulled away by giving away multiple first downs and an eventual Mike Hart rushing touchdown. It was a sign the Chiefs were competitive and just couldn't put the game away -- a young roster without the killer instinct to get it done on the road through four full quarters. They played great most of the way and the team seems ready to turn the corner this year -- with or without Manning's injury.
Haley will preach to his players that the injury doesn't matter, that they should just focus on being the best team they can be that week, and rightfully so. But if Manning isn't there, it does matter, as it gives the Chiefs a major reprieve in their early schedule and gives them that much more confidence and momentum through what will inevitably a rougher season than last year given the competition.