The Colts Football will be led by new quarterback Philip Rivers, their third starter under center in as many years, and now the team’s new schedule has been revealed for the 2020 campaign.
The Colts finished 7-9 last season and missed the playoffs for the fourth time in five years. Jacoby Brissett was thrust into the starting quarterback job when 2012 top overall pick Andrew Luck announced his retirement at the age of just 29 last August.
Indy started strong at 5-2 with impressive back-to-back victories over the eventual champion Kansas City Chiefs and AFC South rival Houston Texans.
However, the season was derailed when Brissett suffered an MCL sprain in Week 9. The 27-year-old only missed one game, but his accuracy was noticeably worse in the second half of the year. The Colts went 2-6 after his injury.
Indianapolis Colts Schedule
Sept. 13: vs Jacksonville Jaguars, 1 p.m, CBS
Sept. 20: vs Minnesota Vikings, 1 p.m., Fox
Sept. 27: vs New York Jets, 4:05 p.m., CBS
Oct. 4: vs Chicago Bears, 1 p.m., CBS
Oct. 11: vs Cleveland Browns, 4:25 p.m., CBS
Oct. 18: vs Cincinnati Bengals, 1 p.m., Fox
Nov. 1: vs Detroit Lions, 1 p.m., CBS
Nov. 8: vs Baltimore Ravens, 1 p.m., CBS
Nov. 12: vs Tennessee Titans, 8:20 p.m., Fox/NFL Network/Amazon
Nov. 22: vs Green Bay Packers, 1 p.m., Fox
Nov. 29: vs Tennessee Titans, 1 p.m., CBS
Dec. 6: vs Houston Texans, 1 p.m., CBS
Dec. 13: vs Las Vegas Raiders, 4:05 p.m., CBS
Dec. 19 or 20: vs Houston Texans, TBD
Dec. 27: vs Pittsburgh Steelers, 1 p.m., CBS
Jan. 3: vs Jacksonville Jaguars, 1 p.m., CBS
Rivers signed with the Colts on a one-year deal, leading many to believe this is a rental to see if the 38-year-old can put the team over the edge.
Injuries, and subsequently consistency, at quarterback have been an issue for the Colts dating back to Luck’s laundry list of injury concerns.
However, the former Los Angeles Chargers star looked like a shell of himself at times throughout their 5-11 season last year. The eight-time Pro Bowler finished with 4,615 yards, 23 touchdowns and 20 interceptions—one shy of his career-worst 21 picks that led the league in 2016.
Rivers’ 48.6 QBR ranked 22nd and just one slot below Brissett’s 50.1 (h/t ESPN). Indianapolis will presumably enter 2020 with Rivers as the guy, but if he proves ineffective, it would not be surprising to see head coach Frank Reich go back to Brissett.
The Colts gave Rivers some help by selecting former USC wide receiver Michael Pittman Jr. (No. 34) and former Wisconsin running back Jonathan Taylor (No. 41) in the second round of April’s draft.
Rivers was the Colts’ headlining move in free agency, but the organization also traded their 2020 No. 13 overall pick to the San Francisco 49ers in exchange for defensive tackle DeForest Buckner. The 26-year-old tallied 7.5 sacks, two forced fumbles and 62 tackles (34 solo) in 16 regular-season contests last year.
The AFC South traditionally gets written off as one of the weaker divisions, but that assumption backfired last season when the Houston Texans (10-6) and Tennessee Titans (9-7) both made the playoffs.
The Titans shocked everybody by making it to the AFC Championship Game as the No. 6 seed before falling to Kansas City.
The Colts are in position to mimic the Titans’ miraculous run, and it will start by bettering their 3-3 divisional record from last year. Overall, Indianapolis leads the all-time series with 10 of its 2020 opponents. The outliers are the Steelers and Raiders. The Colts lost to Pittsburgh 26-24 and Las Vegas (then Oakland) 31-24 last season.
The Steelers defense was dominant during a 2019 in which Ben Roethlisberger and backup Mason Rudolph were lost to injury.
Meanwhile, Browns running back Nick Chubb will test how much—if at all—the Colts’ lackluster run defense has improved.