With teams going through rookie minicamps and settling in for the quiet summer months, we’re taking a look at the Road to Super Bowl 53 for the Indianapolis Colts in 2018. First up, the Colts kick off the season with weeks 1-4.
Week 5: at New England Patriots
Thursday, Oct. 4, 2018 at 8:20 p.m. ET — Gillette Stadium — 2017 Record: 13-3, AFC Champions
Key Additions: Jeremy Hill, RB – Jordan Matthews, WR – Adrian Clayborn, DE — Key Losses: Dion Lewis, RB – Danny Amendola, WR – Nate Solder, OT – Malcom Butler, DB
The matchup most Indianapolis Colts fans will have circled on their calendars is easily the Week 5 matchup against the New England Patriots. And although the matchup against the Patriots almost always has a target on the calendar, this matchup might just mean a little more to the Colts organization and its fans than previous matchups after Josh McDaniels’ spurning of the team’s head coaching offer in early February.
Regardless, the Colts hope a healthy Andrew Luck and a revitalized roster will have the team trending upwards in 2018. Could this mean an early victory against the defending conference champions?
Week 6: at New York Jets
Sunday, Oct. 14, 2018 at 1:00 p.m. ET — MetLife Stadium — 2017 Record: 5-11
Key Additions: Trumaine Johnson, DB – Teddy Bridgewater, QB – Thomas Rawls, RB – Sam Darnold, QB — Key Losses: Matt Forte, RB – Austin Seferian-Jenkins, TE – Muhammad Wilkerson, DT
In Week 6, the Colts will head to the Meadowlands to take on the New York Jets, the matchup following an offseason that saw the two teams wheeling and dealing with one another.
The Colts traded the #3 overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft to the New York Jets, a pick that would become the hopeful franchise quarterback Sam Darnold. In return, the Colts would get their man, offensive lineman Quenton Nelson, at #6. The team would also deal in the late rounds of the draft, with the Colts shipping off defensive lineman Henry Anderson to gang green.
New York is coming off a disappointing but not-surprising 5-11 record in 2017, a season full of controversy and highs-and-lows, but with a bright future in tow. The team hopes to have found their franchise quarterback and helped revitalize their defense in the NFL Draft, making this a decent matchup against the Colts.
Week 7: vs. Buffalo Bills
Sunday, Oct. 21, 2018 at 1:00 p.m. ET — Lucas Oil Stadium — 2017 Record: 9-7
Key Additions: Josh Allen, QB – Trent Murphy, DE – Star Lotulelei, DT – Vontae Davis, DB — Key Losses: Tyrod Taylor, QB – Cordy Glenn, OT – Jordan Matthews, WR
The Colts will return home in Week 7 to face one of the surprises of 2017, the Buffalo Bills, at Lucas Oil Stadium. Week 7 will mark the return of defensive back Vontae Davis, who signed with the Bills this offseason after the Colts mysteriously released him late in the 2017 season.
This Week 7 matchup will (potentially) feature the second-straight week the Colts could see a rookie quarterback, with the Bills drafting Wyoming’s Josh Allen in the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft. This will be a good window into the team’s 2018 edition of a revitalized defense, facing off against such a young talent on the offensive side of the ball.
Week 8: at Oakland Raiders
Sunday, Oct. 28th, 2018 at 4:05 p.m. ET — Oakland Coliseum — 2017 Record: 6-10
Key Additions: Martavis Bryant, WR – Rashaan Melvin, DB – Jordy Nelson, WR — Key Losses: Michael Crabtree, WR – Sebastian Janikowski, K – Marquette King, P
In Week 8, the Colts will head to Oakland to take on the Raiders and new (and former) head coach Jon Gruden’s first season back with the team.
The Raiders are a team very much searching for an identity, after leading the AFC in 2016, the team seemed to regress in 2017, falling to 6-10 and failing to reach the playoffs. The offensive attack of a (presumably) healthy quarterback in Derek Carr, combined with new wide receivers Jordy Nelson and Martavis Bryant, as well as Pro Bowler Amari Cooper returning, will be a stifling test for the new look Colts defense. The Week 8 matchup will also be new Raiders (and former Colts) defensive back Rashaan Melvin’s first game facing his former team.
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