2018 Indianapolis Colts game-by-game predictions

The Indianapolis Colts have stumbled recently, missing the playoffs the last three seasons and finishing 4-12 a year ago. Will Andrew Luck return healthy from his surgically repaired shoulder and get the Colts back to their playoff form, or will the Colts miss the postseason again?

Week 1: Sunday, Sept. 9, vs. Cincinnati Bengals, 1:00 p.m. ET

The Colts will open the season with a victory for the first time since 2013 with or without Luck as their starting quarterback. Record: 1-0

Week 2: Sunday, Sept. 16, at Washington Redskins, 1:00 p.m. ET

The last time Alex Smith faced the Colts he only had six incompletions while throwing for 223 yards and two touchdowns as the starting quarterback of the Kansas City Chiefs. Smith beats the Colts again, only this time he's the starter in Washington. Record: 1-1

Week 3: Sunday, Sept. 23, at Philadelphia Eagles, 1:00 p.m. ET

Reich returns to the city where he spent the previous two seasons as offensive coordinator, including playing an important part in helping the Eagles win the Super Bowl last season. It's not going to be a great trip to Philadelphia for Reich and the Colts. Record: 1-2

Week 4: Sunday, Sept. 30, vs. Houston Texans, 1:00 p.m. ET

The Colts got two of their four victories against the Texans last season. Indy will make it three straight over their AFC South foes. Record: 2-2

Week 5: Thursday, Oct. 4, at New England Patriots, 8:20 p.m. ET

This game has double significance. This will be the Colts' first trip to Gillette Stadium since they were embarrassed the Patriots in the AFC Championship game which resulted in Deflategate in January 2015. And then there's Josh McDaniels. He agreed to be the Colts' coach in February, only to change his mind in the 11th hour to return to the Patriots as offensive coordinator. The rivalry may be back on GM Chris Ballard's eyes, but the Colts fall to 0-6 against New England since selecting Luck in 2012. Record: 2-3

Week 6: Sunday, Oct. 14, at New York Jets, 1:00 p.m. ET

The Colts could get be getting a look at the quarterback the Jets selected in the draft as a result of the two teams swapping picks -- the Colts moved down to No. 6 and Jets moved up to No. 3. Record: 3-3

Week 7: Sunday, Oct. 21, vs. Buffalo Bills, 1:00 p.m. ET

Former teammates T.Y. Hilton and Vontae Davis squaring off will be the marquee matchup. There won't be a blizzard in Lucas Oil Stadium like last December in Buffalo. And there also won't be a Buffalo victory. Record: 4-3

Week 8: Sunday, Oct. 28, at Oakland Raiders, 4:05 p.m. ET

The last trip to Oakland ended the Raiders' chances of making a run deep in the playoffs, but not because the Colts won the game. Raiders quarterback Derek Carr broke his leg while being taken down by former Colts linebacker Trent Cole in December 2016. The Raiders will beat the Colts again. Record: 4-4

Week 9: Bye

Week 10: Sunday, Nov. 11, vs. Jacksonville Jaguars, 1:00 p.m. ET

The Jaguars beat the Colts by a total of 47 points in the two meetings last season. There won't be a shutout this time in Indianapolis, but the Colts will struggle moving the ball against the stellar Jaguars defense. Record: 4-5

Week 11: Sunday, Nov. 18, vs. Tennessee Titans, 1:00 p.m. ET

Like the Jaguars, the Titans swept the Colts in 2017. It'll be three straight victories for the Titans by the end of the game. Record: 4-6

Week 12: Sunday, Nov. 25, vs. Miami Dolphins, 1:00 p.m. ET

Running back Frank Gore and Luck will both be playing in this game. The difference is they won't be teammates for the first time since 2014. Luck shows Gore the type of quarterback he could have been when healthy, which Gore didn't see too often his Colts' tenure. Record: 5-6

Week 13: Sunday, Dec. 2, at Jacksonville Jaguars, 1:00 p.m. ET

The Colts have lost three straight games to the Jaguars in Jacksonville. No reason to believe the losing streak will stop. Record: 5-7

Week 14: Sunday, Dec. 9, at Houston Texans, 1:00 p.m. ET

J.J. Watt, who -- like Luck -- has battled injuries the past couple seasons, gets reunited with the quarterback in the backfield. And Deshaun Watson is back to his pre-injury form while picking the Colts apart. Record: 5-8

Week 15: Sunday, Dec. 16, vs. Dallas Cowboys, 1:00 p.m. ET

The Colts keep their faint playoff hopes alive by containing Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott and the Dallas running game. Record: 6-8

Week 16: Sunday, Dec. 23, vs. New York Giants, 1:00 p.m. ET

The Colts could be facing the No. 2 pick in the draft in this one. It could be running back Saquon Barkley, pass-rusher Bradley Chubb or a quarterback. Indianapolis beats that rookie and the Giants. Record: 7-8

Note: The NFL will decide no later than after Week 8 whether the Giants-Colts will be played on Saturday (Dec. 22) or Sunday (Dec. 23). If the game is played on Saturday, it will be at either 4:30 p.m. ET or 8:20 p.m. ET on the NFL Network; if the game is selected for Sunday, it will be 1 p.m. ET.

Week 17: Sunday, Dec. 30, at Tennessee Titans, 1:00 p.m. ET

The Colts are playing for nothing but pride while the Titans are playing for playoff seeding. Tennessee sweeps the Colts for the second straight season. Record: 7-9