The 2016 schedules have been released and we delve into what the Indianapolis Colts will face this season.
The Colts entered into 2015 with high expectations but fell well short with an 8-8 record. Injuries decimated the roster and the Colts are left to get healthy, hope they nail the draft, and stay healthy in order to retake the AFC South crown.
The Colts strength of schedule ranks 22nd, based on last years records. That obviously doesn’t mean all that much when there are still free agents available and the draft hasn’t taken place yet. The Colts face teams that they both defeated and lost to that look completely different heading into 2016.
Week 1 – Lions at Colts
The Colts open the season hosting the Detroit Lions. The last time these two teams met was 2012, Andrew Luck‘s rookie year, and it featured a 14-point fourth quarter rally by the Colts to leave Detroit with a win.
The Lions head into 2016 without Calvin Johnson, who opted to retire early this offseason. That makes their offense much less dangerous and without Ndamukong Suh, who left after 2014, their defense isn’t that fearful either. The Lions were 7-9 last year.
Week 2 – Colts at Broncos
In Week 2, the Colts head to Denver to take on the Super Bowl champs. The Broncos are still searching for their quarterback following Peyton Manning‘s retirement. The Colts have defeated the Broncos in their last two meetings, including 2015’s playoff victory.
In addition to Manning, the Bronco have lost a number of key players on defense. They still have Super Bowl MVP Von Miller, but you have to wonder if some of those losses will reduce this defense’s effectiveness. They might actually need good QB play in 2016 this time around. The Broncos finished 2015 at 12-4.
Week 3 – Chargers at Colts
The Chargers have historically had the Colts number over the past decade, but this is hardly the same team. The two squads last met in 2013 where the Chargers won 19-9 in San Diego, where the defense struggled to get off the field.
The Chargers were a dismal 4-12 last year featuring a one dimensional offense and a terrible defense. Philip Rivers can still sling the ball, but will have a distinct lack of targets with Malcom Floyd retiring. The Chargers need a nearly complete makeover on both sides of the ball (but especially along the offensive line).
Week 4 – Colts at Jaguars in London
The Colts get the “joy” of travelling across the Atlantic to face the Jaguars in what one day might be their future home. The Jags have been on a spending spree in free agency, but still have some issues along the offensive line and at linebacker and safety. The Jaguars finished 2015 at 5-11.
The Jags appear to be a team on the rise, and the addition of Dante Fowler, who tore his ACL in minicamp last year, as well as a few impactful rookies could have them in position to challenge for the AFC South crown. Neither team has a particular advantage travelling to London, even though the Jaguars have been doing it for years.
This is essentially a neutral site game and as long as the Colts don’t completely collapse in the second half again, could easily come back state side with a win. But they might be at a disadvantage for the next game…
Next: Weeks 5-8