Indianapolis Colts schedule 2024: Takeaways, predictions

INDIANAPOLIS -- The Indianapolis Colts' 2024 schedule was released Wednesday, along with the rest of the NFL slate.

Indianapolis gets a rivalry game right out of the gate, meeting the Houston Texans in Week 1 in a rematch of last season's pivotal Week 18 matchup that decided the AFC South championship. The matchup of two quarterbacks drafted in the top five in 2023 -- the Texans' C.J. Stroud and the Colts' Anthony Richardson -- could be one of the league's more intriguing quarterback matchups for years to come.

The Colts will be looking to take a step this season by reaching the postseason for the first time since 2020. And to do that, they'll have to find success against opponents from the NFC North and AFC East, whom they are paired against. The Colts will get one appearance in prime time (for now), coming in a Sunday Night Football matchup against Aaron Rodgers and the New York Jets.

Here's what's in store for the Colts:

Colts 2024 regular-season schedule

Week 1: Sept. 8 vs. Houston

Week 2: Sept. 15 at Green Bay

Week 3: Sept. 22 vs. Chicago

Week 4: Sept. 29: vs. Pittsburgh

Week 5: Oct. 6 at Jacksonville

Week 6: Oct. 13: at Tennessee

Week 7: Oct. 20 vs. Miami

Week 8: Oct. 27 at Houston

Week 9: Nov. 3 at Minnesota

Week 10: Nov. 10 vs. Buffalo

Week 11:Nov. 17: at N.Y. Jets (SNF)

Week 12: Nov. 24 vs. Detroit

Week 13: Dec. 1 at New England

Week 14: Dec. 8: Bye

Week 15: Dec. 15 at Denver

Week 16: Dec. 22 vs. Tennessee

Week 17: Dec. 28/29: at N.Y. Giants

Week 18: Jan. 4/5: vs. Jacksonville

Strength of schedule: The Colts are tied for the 10th-easiest schedule as opponents had a .491 win percentage last season.

Over/under: 8.5

Biggest takeaway

It won't be the easiest start for the Colts as they face two teams that advanced in the 2023 playoffs in Weeks 1 and 2. In fact, things could remain interesting beyond that point with the new-look Chicago Bears coming to Indianapolis in Week 3, and the Pittsburgh Steelers -- with quarterbacks Russell Wilson and Justin Fields seeking redemption -- visiting in Week 4. The challenging start and nine road games (versus eight home contests) pose a test for Richardson, who returns from season-ending shoulder surgery after just four starts as a rookie in 2023. And the Colts won't get a break for quite some time given their Week 14 bye.

Revenge game

The Colts return to the scene of one of the ugliest losses in franchise and league history when they travel to Minnesota to face the Vikings on Nov. 3. You might recall the Colts' unforgettable 39-36 defeat at Minnesota in 2022, the biggest comeback victory in NFL history. The Vikings erased a 33-point deficit in the game, winning on a field goal in overtime. But this year's meeting will have a different feel to it, with both teams now having new, young quarterbacks who weren't even on the roster for the last contest (rookie J.J. McCarthy is hoping to land the starting job in Minnesota).

Bold prediction

The Colts will win in Jacksonville this season for the first time since 2014. Look for this to be the season the Colts snap the stretch of nine consecutive road losses against their division opponent. As for the logic behind this pick, well, there's not much beyond the reality that it's got to happen sometime (right?). So, why not this season, when the Colts have managed rare continuity within their roster, have an ascending young quarterback and a bright, innovative head coach in Shane Steichen?