Indianapolis Colts’ 2016 regular season schedule released
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (April 14, 2016) – The Indianapolis Colts’ upcoming season includes an appearance in the Hall of Fame Game in Canton, Ohio, a visit to the reigning Super Bowl champion Denver Broncos and a trip to London, but it all begins at home.
For just the second time in the past seven seasons, the Colts open the regular season at Lucas Oil Stadium. The Detroit Lions visit Sept. 11.
The schedule, which was announced Thursday evening, has the Colts involved in three prime-time games as they attempt to return to the playoffs after falling short in 2015. One is a Thanksgiving night meeting with the Pittsburgh Steelers at Lucas Oil Stadium. It also has them facing seven games against six teams that reached the playoffs in ’15: Houston (twice), Denver, Kansas City, Pittsburgh, Green Bay and Minnesota.
It all begins Aug. 7 when the Colts meet the Packers in the Hall of Fame Game in Canton, Ohio. The game caps a historic weekend in Canton. On Aug. 6, Marvin Harrison and Tony Dungy will be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
What strikes us about the regular-season dance card:
- Sept. 11 Detroit, 4:25 p.m. (FOX): At least what will be a retooled secondary won’t have to deal with Megatron. The last time the teams met in 2012, Calvin Johnson tortured them with 13 catches, 171 yards and one touchdown. But it was simply window dressing. Andrew Luck pulled out a 35-33 win in the Motor City with a 14-yard touchdown pass to Donnie Avery on the game’s final play.
- Sept. 18 at Denver, 4:25 p.m. (CBS): We won’t have the fourth installment of Luck vs. Peyton Manning, but this still will be a juicy one. The Broncos’ defense should offer an early glimpse of whether GM Ryan Grigson has done enough to fortify Luck’s protection.
- Sept. 25 San Diego, 4:25 p.m. (CBS): These guys have been a pain in the posterior. The Chargers have won six of the last seven meetings, and two bounced the Colts from the playoffs. Fans should enjoy Philip Rivers. He’s 34, in his 13th season and on the downside of a quality career.
- Oct. 2 vs. Jacksonville in London, 9:30 a.m. (CBS): They’ve played preseason games in Tokyo, Toronto and Mexico City, but for the first time during the regular season, the Colts join the NFL’s international outreach program. The Jaguars have emerged as one of the cornerstones and will be making a fourth straight appearance in London’s Wembly Stadium. Jacksonville is 1-2 across the pond.
- Oct. 9 Chicago, 1 p.m. (FOX): We can’t wait for everyone to analyze Jay Cutler’s body language. Hands on hips, helmet cocked on top of his head. But don’t let your guard down. Cutler’s coming off a solid ’15: 21 touchdowns, 11 interceptions, 3,659 yards, a 92.3 passer rating.
- Oct. 16 at Houston, 8:30 p.m. (NBC): Since 2013, it’s been a cavalcade of QBs when the Colts have faced the Texans. Houston has thrown six different arms at Indy’s defense during that stretch, including three last season – T.J. Yates, Brandon Weeden and Brian Hoyer. Next up: Brock Osweiler. If he fulfills expectations, Houston is legit. If he’s not, not much will change.
- Oct. 23 at Tennessee, 1 p.m. (CBS): The Titans are in serious rebuild mode and the latest step was dealing the first overall pick in the April 28 draft to the Los Angeles Rams. Don’t worry, Marcus Mariota, help is on the way.
- Oct. 30 Kansas City, 1 p.m. (CBS): Not to rub it in, but the Colts have won 13 of the last 15 in the series. And just to rub it in, the most recent was the improbable 45-44 comeback in the 2013 postseason. You remember that one, right? Kansas City led 38-10 in the third quarter. Luck provided the signature play by scooping up Donald Brown’s fumble and stretching for the end zone.
- Nov. 6 at Green Bay, 4:25 p.m. (CBS): Luck is 1-0 against Aaron Rodgers and the Packers, and it was a keeper. We still can see Luck and Reggie Wayne playing pitch-and-catch at the expense of Green Bay’s defense, and Wayne providing the game-winner in a 30-27 thriller by twisting and stretching for the goal line. On the downside, the Colts have lost their last three trips to Wisconsin, including the last two at Lambeau Field.
- Nov. 13 BYE
- Nov. 20 Tennessee, 1 p.m. (CBS): The one-time rivalry has taken lost its competitive edge. The Colts have won 14 of the last 15 meetings with the Titans, including nine straight. They’re 8-0 in Lucas Oil Stadium. Tennessee’s last win in Indy came in the 2007 regular-season finale (16-10) when Tony Dungy rested most of his starters.
- Nov. 24 Pittsburgh, 8:30 p.m. (NBC): It’s time to end the Steelers’ dominance. They’ve toyed with the Colts the last two seasons, rolling to 45-10 and 51-34 victories. They’ve won three straight and lead the overall series 21-6. Half of those Colts’ victories came when they still called Baltimore home.
- Dec. 5 at New York Jets, 8:30 p.m. (ESPN): There’s some unfinished business after that miserable 20-7 loss at MetLife Stadium last season. Ugly, just ugly.
- Dec. 11 Houston, 1 p.m. (CBS): It’s time to start another Indy winning streak against Houston. The Texans won for the first time on Hoosier soil in December after 13 failed attempts. The 16-10 loss – to backup Brandon Weeden, for cryin’ out loud – kept the kept the Colts out of the playoffs for the first time since 2011.
- Dec. 18 at Minnesota, 1 p.m. (CBS): The Colts will be looking for a fifth straight win at the expense of the Vikings. To keep it going, their run defense undoubtedly will have to keep Adrian Peterson in check. Good luck with that.
- Dec. 24 at Oakland, 4:05 p.m. (CBS): There’s actually light emanating from the Black Hole. The Raiders haven’t had a winning record since 2002 (11-5) when they reached the Super Bowl, but were 7-9 under QB Derek Carr’s direction last season.
- Jan. 1 Jacksonville Jaguars, 1 p.m. (CBS): The Jaguars spent the offseason investing heavily in the free-agent market. And for good reason. Since their last winning record and playoff appearance in 2007, they’re 39-89. The Colts and Jacksonville could be fighting for a playoff spot, or playoff positioning, in the regular-season finale.
The Colts finalized the dates and times for its preseason schedule earlier in the day.