For the fourth consecutive season, the Indianapolis Colts are going to have a new quarterback atop their depth chart to begin the season. This year, it will be Carson Wentz’s turn to lead the Colts after they logged an 11-5 record and made the playoffs as a No. 7 seed in the final season of Philip Rivers’ NFL career. Now, the Colts will be looking to improve on what they did last year.
Wentz wasn’t good for the Eagles last year, and that’s part of the reason the team was willing to send him to the Colts. Wentz will be looking to rebound under the tutelage of Frank Reich, who coordinated his best, MVP-caliber season with the Eagles, so there’s a chance that the QB could enjoy a bounce-back campaign.
The Colts don’t have the easiest schedule. They are playing against seven teams that made the playoffs last season. However, they also arguably have the best roster in the AFC South, and they face the Texans and Jaguars twice each. As long as they can beat up on their weaker competition, they will have a chance to win the division and make the playoffs.
Here is a complete breakdown of the Colts’ 2021 schedule, including dates, start times and analysis for all 17 games.
Colts schedule 2021
The Colts’ schedule will be announced as part of the NFL’s schedule release on Wednesday, May 12 at 8 p.m. ET. These are the teams that they are scheduled to play during the 2021 NFL season.
|Houston Texans||Arizona Cardinals|
|Jacksonville Jaguars||Baltimore Ravens|
|Las Vegas Raiders||Buffalo Bills|
|Los Angeles Rams||Houston Texans|
|New England Patriots||Jacksonville Jaguars|
|New York Jets||Miami Dolphins|
|Seattle Seahawks||San Francisco 49ers|
|Tampa Bay Buccaneers||Tennessee Titans|
The Colts had to win four of their final five games to make it into the postseason as the No. 7 seed last year, but they did do a good job of beating up on weaker competition in ’20. They’ll be hoping to do the same in ’21 and should have a chance to do so after adding more pieces to their defense and a quarterback in Wentz with MVP upside.
It also helps the Colts’ cause that the rest of their division isn’t particularly strong. The Titans have consistently been in the playoffs in recent seasons, but their defense still has some major holes. Meanwhile, the Texans are a disaster while the Jaguars are in Phase 1 of a rebuild and don’t have a lot of talent on defense. Because of that, the Colts’ schedule won’t be too difficult overall, and they’ll have a chance to emerge as the best team in the AFC South.
Colts strength of schedule
Based on last year’s records, the Colts have the 23rd-ranked strength of schedule in the NFL. Their mark of 0.478 is tied with the Bills for that spot.
Now, there is potential for some of their weaker opponents to improve. The Colts were the only team to lose to the Jaguars last year, and they’ll be less of a cakewalk with Trevor Lawrence at the helm. And the 49ers figure to be much better in ’21 than they were in ’20, as they should get better quarterback play from either a healthy Jimmy Garoppolo or Trey Lance.
So, the Colts’ schedule may be a bit more difficult than it looks on paper, but they also have the benefit of playing in the AFC South, one of the weaker divisions in the NFL.
Toughest Tests: The Colts have some tough home games this year. The Buccaneers and Rams figure to be two of the better teams in the NFC. Both have well-rounded teams and quarterbacks who don’t make a lot of mistakes. The Colts have the defense needed to turn these games into battles, but those could prove to be their two toughest matchups of the year.
Games against the Bills and the Ravens on the road may prove the hardest for the Colts, as both of those teams have tough defenses and explosive offenses. The Colts nearly beat the Bills in Buffalo during the playoffs, though. But if bad weather rolls in for either game, the dome-based Colts could find themselves in a bit of trouble.
Biggest Breaks: Playing in the AFC South is an advantage for the Colts right now. They’re the most well-balanced team in the division. The Jaguars’ offense should be better with Trevor Lawrence in the fold, but their defense is still a work in progress. The same can be said about the Titans, as their secondary outside of Kevin Byard could be a problem.
Then, of course, there are the Texans, who could be the worst team in the NFL in 2021 as Deshaun Watson’s future is still being determined. If the Colts can dominate within the division and handle the Jets and Raiders, that should be a good way for them to get six to eight wins on the season.
Bottom Line: This year, the Colts’ schedule is hit or miss. Their difficult games could prove to be especially challenging, as the Bucs, Ravens, Bills, Rams and even Seahawks have strong teams and quarterback play that could put a lot of pressure on Wentz. But in games where they’re playing less complete teams, they seem to have a big advantage.
Since the Texans and Jaguars were so bad against the run last year (each ranked in the bottom three), the Colts should make it a goal of theirs to establish the run in divisional games. Jonathan Taylor will give them a chance to do that, and that could help to ease Wentz into things as the franchise quarterback for the Colts.
The Colts probably have the best chance to win the AFC South this season after nearly doing so last year. A lot of their upside will depend on Wentz, and he may have some issues against the league’s stronger defenses. Still, the Colts should have a shot at double-digit wins.
Record Prediction: 11-6