TIER 2: Week 1 vs Cincinnati – Week 7 vs Buffalo – Week 8 @Oakland; Week 10 vs Jacksonville;- Week 15 vs Dallas – Week 16 vs New York Giants – Week 17 @Tennesee
This group of games will be the deciding factor for the Colts’ postseason hopes. If Indy can manage to win four out of these seven games, they will have a real chance at building a playoff-caliber record.
Cincinnati and Oakland are two teams that finished third in their respective divisions last season. I see the opening game versus Cincy as the easier contest as the Bengals are definitely the more vulnerable of the two.
Oakland is expecting to bounce back after a disappointing 2017 season as they made a number of upgrades on both sides of the ball. With this most likely being their last season in Oakland, it will be a tough place to steal with a win.
Two NFC opponents in this tier are both trying to overcome their own lackluster performances in 2017. With both games being held at Lucas Oil Stadium, it came down to which game would be the better matchup for the Colts.
Considering the skilled offense of the Giants, I would mark down the Dallas game as the more favorable of the two. The Cowboys have a number of holes on the defensive side of the ball, mainly in the secondary. Andrew Luck and the offense should have more than enough chances to strike and put away the game.
The remaining three games in this tier (Buffalo, Tennessee, and Jacksonville) are all winnable games. Although division games are always a priority, there should be a special emphasis placed on this year’s games. The Colts MUST win at least three of their six divisional games in order to be in contention for a playoff spot.
Therefore, Reich and his club have to snag one of these two games from their AFC South rivals.