September 8, 2013. That’s the last time the Indianapolis Colts won a season opener. It was a home game against the Oakland Raiders, and Indy won 21-17. Chuck Pagano was the head coach for Indianapolis, Andrew Luck was the starting quarterback, Vick Ballard was the leading rusher, and Reggie Wayne was the leading receiver. That’s how much has changed since the Colts last won a season opener.
Since then, Week 1 has been a nightmare for Indianapolis. In the eight seasons following 2013, Indy lost all eight season openers. Last year, in 2022, it seemed like the Colts would finally break the streak, as they were facing the struggling Houston Texans. Unfortunately, Indy and Houston battled to a draw, extending Indy’s winless Week 1 streak to nine years.
Now, the Colts will try to snap that streak on Sunday when they play host to the Jacksonville Jaguars. While Indianapolis certainly doesn’t want to go a decade without winning a season opener, the odds will be stacked against them on Sunday.
Can Colts upset the Jaguars and end Week 1 streak?
Stopping this steak from reaching 10 years means defeating Jacksonville on Sunday. That’ll be challenging for several reasons. For starters, the Jaguars are the defending division champions. They are unanimously considered the best AFC South team entering 2023 for good reason. They have a productive young offense led by Trevor Lawrence and a promising young defense. Indy winning this game would be challenging regardless of the week.
But, it is in Week 1. That means it will be the first official regular season game for rookie quarterback Anthony Richardson and first-year head coach Shane Steichen. Steichen has done phenomenal things as an offensive coordinator in this league, and Richardson is an immensely talented player. However, winning in the NFL is hard, and even the best and most talented people face growing pains and learning curves.
In addition to that, the Colts will be without their best offensive player, as Jonathan Taylor is currently on the PUP list. The combination of trying to pull a lot of new things together against a challenging opponent makes getting a Week 1 win a high mountain for Indianapolis to climb. However, sports is all about overcoming obstacles and doing the unthinkable. The Colts will try to do that on Sunday, as they hope to end their winless Week 1 streak.