3 non-division games on the Colts 2023 schedule with entertaining matchups

Los Angeles Rams v Indianapolis Colts
Los Angeles Rams v Indianapolis Colts / Michael Hickey/GettyImages
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Colts, Zaire Franklin, Grover Stewart
Indianapolis Colts defensive tackle Grover Stewart (90) stands in the huddle Sunday, Oct. 30, 2022, / Robert Scheer/IndyStar / USA TODAY

2. Colts at Falcons (rushing offense vs. run defense)

This Week 16 matchup will be a classic strength-on-strength game. The strength for the Atlanta Falcons is their rushing offense. The strength for Indianapolis is its rushing defense. Whichever unit gets the edge in that battle will likely win the game for their team.

Falcons head coach Arthur Smith is all about running the football. Smith was the offensive coordinator for the Tennessee Titans during the 2019 and 2020 seasons. Derrick Henry led the league in rushing in both of those seasons. Now, in Atlanta, the Falcons rushing attack is extremely productive.

Last season, the Falcons averaged 159.9 rushing yards a game, 0.1 yards behind being the second-best in the NFL. To improve on that, Atlanta added generational running back prospect Bijan Robinson in the draft. Robinson should immediately excel once he’s dropped into this offense.

The Colts, on the other hand, have a really good run defense. However, last season’s numbers don’t necessarily support that claim. Indy gave up 124.1 rushing yards a game, which was 21st in the NFL. But, actually watching the games, it’s clear that the Colts have a good defense but they ultimately suffered from carrying an incompetent offense.

Early in games and early in the season, Indianapolis was stout against the run. If the offense can be a little more productive, Indy’s run defense should be able to stay strong throughout games and the season. With DeForest Buckner, Grover Stewart, Zaire Franklin, and Shaquille Leonard all in the box, the Colts should have a top-10 rushing defense.

That means this matchup has the chance to be between two top-10 rushing units, on both sides of the ball, and fans will have the privilege of watching them face off.