Week 15 – Colts at Vikings
The Colts finally get through the bye week late in the season and now have to head to Minnesota. Another tough game in the final stretch of the season. You can either view these final games in one of two ways.
It’s a blessing that Indy has a tough schedule down the stretch to improve their draft position or it’s a detriment that the Colts have to face so many tough opponents to get into the playoffs. If you’re thinking the latter, then at least we know the Colts will be battle-tested if they make the playoffs.
Without knowing what time of the day this game will take place, it’s hard to make predictions. If the game is in the normal 1 pm EST slot, expect the Vikings to put up huge numbers. Everyone knows that Kirk Cousins only performs well in the early games.
If the game falls into the late-game window, this could be another winnable game. I’d expect either way for Indianapolis to fall flat late and the Vikings to get a big-time win late in the season.
Colts lose (5-8-1)
Week 16 – Colts vs. Chargers, Monday Night Football
Another late-season prime-time game for Indianapolis. Is it weird to think that this might be the second easiest game after the bye week?
The Chargers need to make a late push for the playoffs and a win on the road on Monday Night Football is the perfect way to set expectations heading into January.
Hopefully, at this point in the season, Indy’s front office has taken a long look in the mirror and realized that their best chance at sustained success is in the 2023 NFL draft and has packed it away a bit. Indianapolis cannot afford to get stupid in the final weeks.
Colts lose (5-9-1)
Week 17 – Colts at Giants
What did I just say? Don’t get stupid in the final weeks. Sadly, that’s exactly what happens heading to New York City to take on the Giants, who are looking at playoff position rather than draft position.
The Colts get cute and pull off an upset win late in the season, even though it’s too late for any playoff contention. Players will play no matter what and it is truly impossible to tank with all of the moving pieces.
Indianapolis’ players are not just playing for contracts on the team, but for free agency as well. Coaches want to perform well and have a job next year, whether that’s a promotion or just to save their current job. Jeff Saturday makes his push to be the Colts’ full-time head coach in 2023.
Colts win (6-9-1)
Week 18 – Colts vs. Texans
To wrap up the season, Indy avoids another loss in the AFC South and outscores the Texans in the regular season by actually defeating Houston 17 weeks after getting the tie in Week 1.
The crushing part about this win is that it screws up the draft position a bit, dropping Indianapolis from 12 to 14 behind the Texans (via Cleveland) and Steelers. A loss here would have put the Colts in front of the Texans’ draft pick that they received in the Deshaun Watson trade.
It likely won’t matter too much, but now the Texans can afford to get more draft capital by trading away the pick to a team that needs to trade up for a quarterback in the draft.
Colts win (7-9-1)