Analyzing Indianapolis Colts’ 2014 Home Schedule
Indianapolis Colts 2014 Home Schedule
The 2013 NFL season hasn't even reached its conclusion and Indianapolis Colts fans are already looking forward to what 2014 has to offer. After compiling another impressive regular season record under head coach Chuck Pagano, the Colts will face two difficult intra-conference matchups along with the North division of the AFC conference. They will also face the NFC East and of course their divisional rivals in the AFC South to round off the schedule.
The Colts posted a strong 6-2 record at Lucas Oil Stadium this year with blockbuster victories over the Seattle Seahawks and Denver Broncos. They swept their divisional rivals and beat the Oakland Raiders on the opening day of the season. The first loss at home came in Week 2 with the Miami Dolphins edging the contest 24-20.
The Colts fell to the St. Louis Rams midway through the season in arguably the biggest shock result of the year. Indianapolis entered the matchup with a 6-2 record while the visitors had lost three in a row. Several big plays by rookie Tavon Austin saw the Rams run rampant on their way to a 38-8 win, marking the largest margin of defeat suffered by the Colts since relocating to Lucas Oil Stadium in 2008.
Indianapolis will be hoping for a deep postseason run in 2014 and securing a first-round bye in the playoffs is the best way to start. Winning their home games is always the No. 1 priority and here is a breakdown of opponents set to visit Lucas Oil Stadium next year with some background of how they performed in 2013.
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New England Patriots (12-4)
The New England Patriots will be the best team to travel to Indianapolis in 2014 and the contest will mark Tom Brady's first visit to Lucas Oil Stadium since Peyton Manning parted ways with the franchise in 2011. The Colts are 4-3 at home against the Patriots since 2000, but current Indianapolis quarterback Andrew Luck is 0-2 against Bill Belichick's men, having lost at Foxborough during the 2012 regular season and in the Divisional Round of the playoffs this year.
Cincinnati Bengals (11-5)
The Bengals performed well during the regular season, compiling their best record since 2005. However, the same old problems surfaced in the playoffs with quarterback Andy Dalton losing his third straight Wild Card game. The Colts were blown out at Paul Brown Stadium in Week 14, where the Bengals finished a perfect 8-0.
Luck and company will be hoping for revenge in Indianapolis next year and the omens look good; Cincinnati hasn't won in Indiana for 18 years, leaving empty handed on their previous seven visits.
Philadelphia Eagles (10-6)
The Philadelphia Eagles were one of the league's surprise packages this year under new head coach Chip Kelly. Sophomore quarterback Nick Foles showed he's the real deal, finishing the regular season with a QB rating of 119.2, while LeSean McCoy and DeSean Jackson excelled in their respective fields once again.
The Colts have faced the Eagles just three times since 2000 and won 45-21 when the teams last met in Indianapolis during the 2006 regular season.
Baltimore Ravens (8-8)
The reigning Super Bowl champions endured a torrid 2013 season after losing many of their key players during the offseason. The likes of Ray Lewis and Ed Reed were among those missing from the Baltimore Ravens' roster and despite nearly stumbling into the AFC sixth seed position, Baltimore missed out on the playoffs for the first time in seven years.
The Colts lead the Ravens 9-4 since relocating from Baltimore in 1984 and hold a perfect 5-0 home record. The teams last met on Wild Card Weekend in 2012, with the Ravens winning 24-9 at M&T Bank Stadium.
Tennessee Titans (7-9)
The Tennessee Titans had another underwhelming season in 2013 and decided to fire head coach Mike Munchak shortly after. Former San Diego Chargers offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt quickly took up the position and his first order of business will be to address the Titans' quarterback situation. Jake Locker has shown glimpses of starting-caliber talent but his inability to stay healthy could see Tennessee search elsewhere for their franchise starter.
The Colts have beaten the Titans six consecutive times at home dating back to 2007, including a victory over their divisional rivals during the infamous 2-14 season of 2011.
Jacksonville Jaguars (4-12)
The Jacksonville Jaguars finished the 2013 regular season 4-4, having lost their opening eight games prior to the bye week. Head coach Gus Bradley has helped to rejuvenate the faltering franchise and they do have some young talent, particularly at the wide receiver position with Cecil Shorts III, Ace Sanders and hopefully a returning Justin Blackmon.
As with the Titans, it is the quarterback position that will come under scrutiny during the offseason. Blaine Gabbert has to be finished with the organization and Chad Henne has shown he is a capable backup and nothing more. With Teddy Bridgewater, Johnny Manziel and Blake Bortles available in the draft, the Colts are sure to come up against a rookie quarterback when facing Jacksonville next season.
Washington Redskins (3-13)
The Washington Redskins will visit Indianapolis after suffering one of the most turbulent seasons in recent memory. Posting a 10-6 record and securing a playoff berth with Offensive Rookie of the Year Robert Griffin III in 2012, the Redskins regressed this year beyond the wildest of expectations.
Griffin hasn't been the same player since suffering a serious knee injury last season and was subsequently benched by then head coach Mike Shanahan in December. Former Bengals offensive coordinator Jay Gruden became the eighth head coach of the Dan Snyder era when appointed in early January and the health of Griffin is sure to be the primary issue heading into 2014.
The Colts have faced the Redskins just three times since 2000, with Indianapolis claiming a 36-22 victory in 2006, the last time Washington travelled to the RCA Dome.
Houston Texans (2-14)
The Houston Texans' implosion this year was nothing short of spectacular. After winning back-to-back AFC South championships in 2011-12, Houston lost 14 straight following a 2-0 start to earn the first pick of the draft on May 8. There is no doubt that newly appointed head coach Bill O'Brien will be working with a rookie quarterback next season, as Matt Schaub had a spectacular implosion all of his own and sophomore backup Case Keenum remains a work in progress.
The Colts hold a phenomenal 20-4 record over the Texans and have never lost to their divisional rivals in Indianapolis. Houston was the second team to fall against the 2-14 Colts in 2011, despite entering the contest with a 10-4 record.