INDIANAPOLIS – It’s a 17-game slate, with 7 games against teams that experienced the playoffs last season.
And the Colts will be no strangers to primetime in 2022, with some home flavor finally!
Here are 6 takeaways from the Colts 2022 schedule:
-Finally In Primetime, At Home
That’s the number of days it has been since the Colts last hosted a Sunday or Monday night game inside of Lucas Oil Stadium.
And that number, after more growing, will finally end this season.
The Colts have 4 primetime games in 2022, with 2 of those coming at home!
The 4 night games are: Week 5: @Denver (Thursday), Week 12: Steelers (Monday), Week 13: @Cowboys (Sunday), Week 16: Chargers (Monday).
It’s amazing to see actual home games for the Colts on a Sunday/Monday night.
Prior to the 2022 schedule, every team in the NFL besides the Colts and Jaguars had played at least three home Sunday or Monday games since the Colts last did in October 2015.
It was an utter joke the NFL continued to ignore the Colts on Sunday and Monday night.
That’s finally over.
-Toughest Stretch Early Or Late?
For me, two challenging stretches stand out when you look at the schedule.
You have an early three-weeker of Chiefs, Titans, @ Broncos in Weeks 3-5. That Broncos trip is a short week, playing on Thursday night.
And then later in the season, you have a longer stretch of @Patriots, @Raiders, Eagles, Steelers (Monday night), @Cowboys (Sunday night), bye, @Vikings, Chargers (Monday night).
That first one is probably the tougher opponents, especially when you factor it still being early in the season for a new quarterback/new defensive coordinator.
The second one has a ton of playoff caliber opponents all running back-to-back.
-Win The Division Early
Similar to last year, the Colts could very well know their divisional fate before Halloween arrives.
That’s what happens when you have 5 of your 6 AFC South games in the first seven weeks of the season. The other divisional game comes in the season finale (vs. Houston).
Of course, with the Titans in Week 4 (home) and Week 7 (road), those games carry even extra weight to the likely victor of the AFC South.
The rest of the AFC South has won a division since the Colts last did, which happened in Andrew Luck’s third season (2014).
-Easy Opener To Try An End The Drought
Yes, we have lines out on the Week 1 games already.
And, the Colts are the NFL’s biggest favorite, despite being on the road, at 8 points over the Houston Texans.
(Obviously, this didn’t work out well in last year’s season finale).
Still, of all the games on the Colts schedule this season, @Houston is one of the easiest.
Davis Mills and first-year head coach Lovie Smith isn’t Russell Wilson in the opener from last year.
The opportunity is a good one to finally, finally, finally end the inexcusable 8-year drought of losing season openers (the last Week 1 for the Colts was over the Raiders in 2013).
-AFC West Games Spread Out
In facing the AFC West, the Colts will play one of the most impressive looking divisions in quite some time this season (on paper).
And it’s a bit spread out.
They will host the Chiefs in Week 3, go to Denver for Thursday Night Football in Week 5. And then they will have a road trip to Las Vegas in Week 10, before hosing the Chargers on Monday Night Football in Week 16.
With four high-level quarterbacks now in the AFC West, this Colts defense under new coordinator Gus Bradley will be tested early, in the middle and at the end by a division that has all four teams easily capable of making a playoff run. Bradley did spend his last 5 years in the AFC West.
-Bye Week Again Comes Late
For the second straight year, the Colts will have a Week 14 bye, which is the latest in the NFL.
Now, the Colts Thursday night game will come in Week 5, so they will have a mini-bye a month earlier than last year.
As we saw in 2021, the Colts had to battle through some early-season injuries, but were a much healthier bunch to close out the season (although it didn’t help them).
I’d rather take a late bye than an early bye.