6 Colts Takeaways From 2019 Schedule Release
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INDIANAPOLIS – We now know the schedule of the Indianapolis Colts in 2019.
It’s a slate heavily weighted on the difficult away from home, compared to a much more manageable schedule at Lucas Oil Stadium.
Here are 6 takeaways from the Colts 2019 schedule.
1. Toughest Stretch
There’s not one specific stretch that really jumps off the page as particularly brutal for the Colts in 2019. But the 5 games to start the season, prior to a Week 6 bye week, have some tough challenges. Indy will play road games against the Chargers (Week 1), Titans (Week 2) and Chiefs (Week 5) early in the season. Those are some really difficult games away from home versus teams that should be in the playoff mix come December. The two home games in this span come against the Falcons (Week 3) and Raiders (Week 4).
2. Primetime Colts
When the 2018 schedule was released last April, the Colts were granted one primetime game (a Thursday night contest with the Patriots). Well, a healthy Andrew Luck and one of the more intriguing teams entering 2019 has the Colts on the slate for 3 primetime games this fall. The obvious choices are there with Colts at Chiefs in Week 6 and then Colts at Saints in Week 15. And it seems like the Colts and Texans play an annual primetime game, this one coming on Thursday night in Week 12. An already weak home slate for the Colts sees all three of those primetime games coming on the road.
3. A Better Start?
Well, the Colts drew one of their tougher 2019 games to start the season. A road trip to take on the Chargers is a stiff test with Frank Reich wanting his team to get off to a much better start this year. Then in Week Two, they head to Tennessee. It will be the first consecutive road game start to the season for the Colts since 2004. On Day One of the Colts offseason program earlier this week, Reich reminded his team of a major goal that can be accomplished in 2019. Getting off to good starts have escaped this team for years (they started last season 1-5). They haven’t won a season opener since 2013. Inconsistent play in past Septembers has forced this team to go on big runs in the latter parts of the season to make the playoffs. In the last three years, the Colts are just a combined 3-9 in the first quarter of the season.
4. Best Division In Football
Let’s not forget that the AFC South, yes the AFC South, won the most games of any division last season. It should again be one of the best and most competitive divisions in all of football this fall. The Colts have not won the division since 2014 and you know a definite goal of this team is to have homefield in some capacity come playoff time. A 14-day stretch in the second half of the season will be critical for the Colts’ AFC South fate this year. They will play consecutive games against the Jaguars, at Texans (Thursday) and host the Titans in Weeks 11-13. Going to Houston on a short week is less than ideal. Other divisional games are more spread out: Week 2 (at Titans), Week 7 (Texans) and Week 17 (at Jaguars). That season finale against the Jaguars won't be easy as the Colts have lost 3 straight games in Jacksonville.
5. Road Gauntlet
It’s one of the more notable differences in this fall’s slate for the Colts. Six of the Colts eight road games this coming season are against teams that finished above .500 last season. Of the Colts' 5 non-divisional home games in 2019, all of those teams finished last year with a record of less than .500. When you look at that road slate this fall, the quarterbacks on those teams really stand out (Patrick Mahomes, Drew Brees, Ben Roethlisberger, Phillip Rivers…). It’s a far different group of QBs from what the Colts faced last year. The Colts will open up the season on the road twice. In fact, the Colts will not play a 2019 road game against a team that finished under .500 last season until the final month of the season.
6. Rematch At Arrowhead
It’s probably the most anticipated game on the Colts schedule in 2019. The Colts return to Arrowhead in Week Five of the 2019 season for a rematch of their 31-13 Divisional Round loss to the Chiefs last January. This game has added some intrigue with Justin Houston’s arrival in Indianapolis and the Chiefs losing some pass rushing punch with Houston and Dee Ford departing. It is quite possible that this game could have implications for byes in the playoffs and homefield.