The NFL has released its 2018 regular-season schedule. Here's a look at what's in store for the Indianapolis Colts.
Breakdown: Remember when the Colts spent a lot of time playing prime-time games? Oh, how things have changed for the organization. The Colts' lone prime-time matchup will be against the New England Patriots in Week 5 on Oct. 4. Thirteen of their 16 games kickoff at 1 p.m. ET. You can't fault the NFL for not wanting to put the Colts in the spotlight. They've missed the playoffs three straight years, are in the process of rebuilding under new coach Frank Reich and there's still no guarantee quarterback Andrew Luck (shoulder) will be the Colts' Week 1 starter.
Tough start, then home for November: The Colts, if they're able to survive playing five of their first eight games on the road, will have a chance to try to stay in the thick of things in the AFC South when they play all three November games at home. The NFL didn't do the Colts any favors by having them spend most of the early part of the season on the road. They have road games against the defending Super Bowl champion Eagles and head back to Foxboro, Massachusetts, for the first time since the AFC Championship game and Deflategate in 2015. The Colts will also be seeing Josh McDaniels for the first time since he turned down their head coaching job to remain New England's offensive coordinator.
Reunion games: McDaniels and Ballard aren't the only ones who will be reunited in 2018. Reich, who spent the past two seasons as offensive coordinator of the Eagles, will go back to Philadelphia when the Colts play there in Week 3. Vontae Davis, who became a Pro Bowl cornerback with the Colts, will get to match up against receiver T.Y. Hilton when the Colts and Bills play in Week 7. Davis was released by the Colts in November 2017 after a strange set of events that saw him left behind for a game in Houston. Former Chuck Pagano said it was a coach's decision and Davis said he was dealing with a nagging groin injury.
Running back Frank Gore, who spent the past three seasons with the Colts, will be back in Indianapolis when he and his hometown Miami Dolphins come to Lucas Oil Stadium on Nov. 25. Gore and Luck only played 22 out of a possible 48 games together in those three seasons. The Colts opted not to re-sign Gore because they wanted to get younger at running back.
Strength of schedule: T-22nd, .484
Colts' Regular-Season Schedule (All times Eastern)
Week 1: Sunday, Sept. 9, Cincinnati, 1 p.m.
Week 2: Sunday, Sept. 16, at Washington, 1 p.m.
Week 3: Sunday, Sept. 23, at Philadelphia, 1 p.m.
Week 4: Sunday, Sept. 30, Houston, 1 p.m.
Week 5: Thursday, Oct. 4, at New England, 8:20 p.m.
Week 6: Sunday, Oct. 14, at NY Jets, 1 p.m.
Week 7: Sunday, Oct. 21, Buffalo, 1 p.m.
Week 8: Sunday, Oct. 28, at Oakland, 4:05 p.m.
Week 9: BYE
Week 10: Sunday, Nov. 11, Jacksonville, 1 p.m.
Week 11: Sunday, Nov. 18, Tennessee, 1 p.m.
Week 12: Sunday, Nov. 25, Miami, 1 p.m.
Week 13: Sunday, Dec. 2, at Jacksonville, 1 p.m.
Week 14: Sunday, Dec. 9, at Houston, 1 p.m.
Week 15: Sunday, Dec. 16, Dallas, 1 p.m.
Week 16: Sunday, Dec. 23, NY Giants, 1 p.m.
Week 17: Sunday, Dec. 30, at Tennessee, 1 p.m.