The Indianapolis Colts schedule for the 2021 season seems relatively weak, ranking 23rd in opponent win percentage. But the strength of schedule can be deceiving and as we forecast the Colts’ 2021 season, there could be more hurdles than expected.
Indianapolis hopes it landed its franchise quarterback this offseason, sending multiple draft picks to the Philadelphia Eagles in the Carson Wentz trade. There’s a lot at stake for the Colts, given its conditional 2022 second-round pick becomes a first-round selection if Wentz plays 75% of the snaps or 70% of the snaps and the Colts make the playoffs.
Let’s dive into our 2021 predictions for the Indianapolis Colts.
Week 1 – vs. Seattle Seahawks
The Seahawks have their own difficult quarterback situation, as Russell Wilson may well be playing his final year in Seattle. Because the Colts have a better head coach-QB relationship than their Week 1 opponent right now, we’re giving the edge to Indianapolis.
Indianapolis Colts schedule prediction: Colts 30, Seahawks 27
Week 2 – vs. Los Angeles Rams
Both these teams are welcoming in new quarterbacks, but one landed the superior player. Los Angeles overpaid in the Matthew Stafford trade, but it landed a quarterback capable of pushing a team to the Super Bowl. Expect the gap between Stafford and Wentz to decide this matchup.
Indianapolis Colts schedule prediction: Rams 23, Colts 17
Week 3 – @ Tennessee Titans
The AFC South is a two-team race and we might see history repeat in 2021. Tennessee beat Indianapolis in the final matchup, which made the difference in the final NFL standings. The Titans’ defense looks a lot better on paper this year, but these teams always put up a ton of points against one another. Playing at home, Tennessee gets the edge.
Indianapolis Colts schedule prediction: Titans 34, Colts 31
Week 4 – @ Miami Dolphins
As the Colts tread water in the AFC, the Miami Dolphins are quickly rising. Tua Tagovailoa will be fully healthy and have a vastly superior supporting cast to what he played with as a rookie. Pair that with a top-10 defense, with the potential to be even better than that, this matchup lands in the Dolphins’ favor.
Indianapolis Colts schedule prediction: Dolphins 21, Colts 14
Week 5 – @ Baltimore Ravens
Indianapolis lost to Baltimore in 2020 largely due to a blown call. It’s been an active spring for the Ravens, with its offense adding significant talent (Rashod Bateman, Sammy Watkins, Kevin Zeitler) but losing its top pass rushers. That’s good news for Wentz, 48.6 passer rating when pressured. But a defense that allowed opponents to average 402.8 total yards per game from Week 11-16 and didn’t improve much this offseason, could be in trouble.
Indianapolis Colts schedule prediction: Ravens 24, Colts 20
Week 6 – vs. Houston Texans
Frank Reich should be very happy that he is in the AFC South. The Texans provide two games that should be practical locks as Colts’ victories. Given everything we’ve seen from Houston’s defense in recent years, a 200-yard performance wouldn’t be a surprise for Taylor.
Indianapolis Colts schedule prediction: Colts 31, Texans 10
Week 7 – @ San Francisco 49ers
Whether the San Francisco 49ers start Trey Lance or Jimmy Garoppolo, this figures to be a low-scoring game. Both teams want to win with their defense and controlling the clock. Long drives, plenty of field goals and Wentz making just enough plays in the final minutes to secure a victory.
Indianapolis Colts schedule prediction: Colts 17, 49ers 13
Week 8 – vs. Tennessee Titans
The battle between the Colts and Titans is going to be an underrated storyline for the 2021 NFL season. Both clubs got victories on the road in 2020, we’re expecting the reverse outcome this time around. If Wentz protects the football and Indianapolis contains Derrick Henry, it should be enough for a convincing victory.
Indianapolis Colts schedule prediction: Colts 27, Titans 16
Week 9 – vs. New York Jets
Among the top rookie quarterbacks, it might take Zach Wilson the longest to adjust. He played behind a dominant offensive line at BYU and had skill players superior to the defenses they faced. That’s far from the case in New York, a team that is really just starting to rebuild.
Indianapolis Colts schedule prediction: Colts 30, Jets 20
Week 10 – vs. Jacksonville Jaguars
It’s going to take some time for Urban Meyer to adjust to the NFL, especially the losing. Indianapolis is just a more talented and experienced team, which should result in two divisional victories.
Indianapolis Colts schedule prediction: Colts 26, Jaguars 14
Week 11 – @ Buffalo Bills
We might not see the Colts get into a ton of shootouts in 2021, but this might be one of those matchups. Buffalo couldn’t generate pressure last season and did very little to improve the secondary, a way to offset the issue. The Bills do have one of the NFL’s best offenses and in a matchup between these two quarterbacks, give us Josh Allen.
Indianapolis Colts schedule prediction: Bills 34, Colts 31
Week 12 – vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Tampa Bay is the first reigning Super Bowl champion to bring back all 22 of its starters. This is a team putting all of its chips on the table and Tom Brady boasts an 11-3 record against Indianapolis. There will be weeks when the Colts look like a Super Bowl contender, this matchup will be a reminder of why they aren’t.
Indianapolis Colts schedule prediction: Buccaneers 27, Colts 17
Week 13 – @ Houston Texans
The Houston Texans are the worst team in the NFL and there’s a real possibility they go 0-17. Wentz should have no trouble against Houston’s secondary and Jonathan Taylor will power through and run circles around the defense. If Indianapolis doesn’t get two double-digit victories over the Colts in 2021, it would be a disappointment.
Indianapolis Colts schedule prediction: Colts 34, Texans 7
WEEK 14 BYE
Week 15 – vs. New England Patriots
The New England Patriots basically waved the white flag before the 2020 season. After a rough year, Bill Belichick got extremely aggressive with huge moves to upgrade his roster on both sides of the ball. The Hall of Famer seems to have the Colts’ number. With a great defense, Hall of Fame coaching and the ground attack, the Patriots could sneak out with a victory.
Indianapolis Colts schedule prediction: Patriots 23, Colts 20
Week 16 – @ Arizona Cardinals
While the Colts operated rather covertly this offseason, Arizona made big splashes whenever the opportunity came along. The defense is improved with J.J. Watt and Zaven Collins, pairing with a healthy Chandler Jones to create an excellent front seven. On offense, Kyler Murray has a better supporting cast and an improved offensive line. The combination of a high-powered offense and a dominant pass rush makes this road matchup a little too much for the Colts.
Indianapolis Colts schedule prediction: Cardinals 28, Colts 24
Week 17 – vs. Las Vegas Raiders
Jon Gruden looks every offseason for an upgrade over Derek Carr. He stuck by the Pro Bowl quarterback this year, but tore his offensive line to shreds. The Raiders’ defense is bad and its offensive line is taking a huge step backward. Those are all the ingredients needed for a Colts’ victory.
Indianapolis Colts schedule prediction: Colts 31, Raiders 14
Week 18 – @ Jacksonville Jaguars
Trevor Lawrence is going to be a problem for the Colts, but the rest of the Jaguars’ roster is a work in progress. Jacksonville will provide a tougher test than Indianapolis experienced last year, but these two teams are still separated by a few tiers.
Indianapolis Colts schedule prediction: Colts 27, Jaguars 20
Indianapolis Colts projected record: 9-8
The move to a 17-game schedule did no favors for the Colts. It created the matchup against the Buccaneers, turning a potential 9-7 record into a rather pedestrian mark. Fortunately, the Titans share a majority of the opponents and this will be a race to the finish. The edge may ultimately go to Tennessee, but a wild card spot is very realistic.