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INDIANAPOLIS – A 2020 schedule with 7 games against playoff teams from last season highlights this year’s slate for the Colts.

With the NFL releasing the 2020 regular season schedule on Thursday night, there are some intriguing storylines for the Colts heading into Frank Reich’s third season at the helm.

Here are 5 takeaways from the Colts 2020 schedule:

1. No Home Primetime (for now)

Has someone checked on Jim Irsay?

I mean, come on, NFL.

For the 5th straight season, the Colts have zero home primetime games on Sunday or Monday.

The one mandated primetime game every team gets (Thursday night) is on the road for Indianapolis this year. That’s a trip to take on the Titans in Week 10 (November 12th).

Remember, Irsay was fired up earlier this year in talking about his team not having a single home primetime game last season (despite Andrew Luck still being on the roster when the 2019 schedule was announced).

“One thing I’m disappointed with, that I don’t understand, is why we were what we were, which was a playoff team winning playoff games, and we didn’t have one home game on national TV last year. That’s unprecedented,” Irsay said. “I don’t understand that. So it’s something that I just have to pursue, and you know me, I protect the Colts, and I will fight as hard as I can to accomplish the things we do.”

Well, so much for that. The Colts will now be on the road for a 12th time in their last 14 primetime games. They haven’t played on Sunday or Monday night at home since 2015. In that span (159 total games), every team in the NFL has had at least two home primetime games besides the Colts, Bills and Jaguars.

Pretty crazy to me that the Colts (Philip Rivers) nor the Texans (Deshaun Watson) got a Monday night game in 2020.

It should be noted that in Week 15, the Colts host the Texans in a game that’s TBD on December 19th or December 20th. This could be in primetime.

2. Late Divisional Slate

In trying to win the division for the first time since 2014, the Colts will have to wait till the second half of the season for the bulk of their AFC South contests.

After the season opener against Jacksonville, another AFC South game doesn’t appear on the schedule again until Week 10.

The Colts will then take on the Titans twice in three weeks (Week 10-road, Week 12-home), and then do the same thing with the Texans starting in Week 13 (Week 13-road, Week 15-home).

Wrapping up the season in Week 17 with a home game versus the Jaguars will also conclude the AFC South slate.

It’s time for the Colts to get back to being a regular/legit contender atop the division they dominated from 2002-14.

3. Gettable Start

On paper, the Colts have one of their easiest games of the season right out of the gate.

A road trip to the tank-able Jaguars should see the Colts as a Week 1 favorite.

Will Indianapolis be looking at their first regular season opening victory since 2013 (yes, it’s been that long)? Or maybe their first 2-0 start since 2009?

Of course, it should be noted, the Colts haven’t won in Jacksonville since 2014.

Following the Jaguars, the Colts have a stretch that isn’t the most daunting: Vikings, Jets, at Bears, at Browns, Bengals. That leads into a Week 7 bye.

For the Colts to feel good coming out of the bye, an above .500 record will be key.

4. Gauntlet Coming In November

The hardest stretch of the 2020 schedule starts on November 8th.

And it’s a long gauntlet with the Colts going from: Ravens, at Titans, Packers, Titans, at Texans, at Raiders, Texans, at Steelers during Weeks 9-16.

You have 8 teams there that could certainly be playoff teams in 2020, or still in the mix of things at that point of the season.

That’s why getting ahead of things early on in the year is so key, because November, into December, is brutal.

5. Heavy AFC Finish

Once the Colts take on the Packers in Week 11, they won’t play another NFC game the rest of the season.

Unlike last year with 3 NFC games from Weeks 14-16, the Colts will have a heavy AFC flavor to the end of the 2020 campaign.

Like was mentioned above, it’s a backloaded schedule that has teams you would expect to be in the playoff picture (unlike some of the AFC teams coming earlier in the season).

We will see if the Colts can play meaningful football late in the season as they try to get back into the postseason for just the second time since 2014.