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Indianapolis Colts schedule analysis

Breakdown: In what probably still ranks as the marquee game of the season, the Colts will travel to New England to face the Patriots on Nov. 21. That game is a late Sunday afternoon matchup for CBS, but it hardly marks a drop in the Colts’ prime-time presence. They’ll host the Giants, Texans and Chargers in prime time while playing at night at Washington and Tennessee. A Dec. 26 game at Oakland probably won’t qualify as the favorite on the schedule, but the road slate looks pretty kind overall -- Indianapolis plays two in a row on the road only once, and those games at Denver and at Jacksonville come early (Sept. 26 and Oct. 3.).

Complaint department: Bill Polian, Jim Caldwell and Peyton Manning won’t likely be giving thanks for the gauntlet set up around Thanksgiving. The Colts will be at New England, vs. San Diego, vs. Dallas and that looks like the toughest three-game stretch on the Colts’ calendar.

Physical competition: The NFC East almost always ranks as one of the NFL’s most physical divisions, and those physical games can be especially tough on the road late in the season when frosty weather can make a hard hit linger. But the Colts road games against those foes come relatively early -- at Washington Oct. 17 and at Philly Nov. 7. Only that Patriots game comes in a cold-weather venue in a cold month.

Colts Regular Season Schedule (All times Eastern)

Week 1: Sunday, Sep. 12, at Houston, 1:00 PM

Week 2: Sunday, Sep. 19, NY Giants, 8:20 PM

Week 3: Sunday, Sep. 26, at Denver, 4:15 PM

Week 4: Sunday, Oct. 3, at Jacksonville, 4:05 PM

Week 5: Sunday, Oct. 10, Kansas City, 1:00 PM

Week 6: Sunday, Oct. 17, at Washington, 8:20 PM

Week 7: BYE

Week 8: Monday, Nov. 1, Houston, 8:30 PM

Week 9: Sunday, Nov. 7, at Philadelphia, 4:15 PM

Week 10: Sunday, Nov. 14, Cincinnati, 1:00 PM

Week 11: Sunday, Nov. 21, at New England, 4:15 PM

Week 12: Sunday, Nov. 28, San Diego, 8:20 PM

Week 13: Sunday, Dec. 5, Dallas, 4:15 PM

Week 14: Thursday, Dec. 9, at Tennessee, 8:20 PM

Week 15: Sunday, Dec. 19, Jacksonville, 1:00 PM

Week 16: Sunday, Dec. 26, at Oakland, 4:05 PM

Week 17: Sunday, Jan. 2, Tennessee, 1:00 PM