The Indianapolis Colts open the regular season on Sunday against the Buffalo Bills, and both teams look to get a season with playoff hopes started on the right note with a win. Before the game, however, let's take a look at some interesting notes and stats in advance of the game:
- The Colts are 31-35-1 all-time against the Bills, who used to be in their division before the realignment in 2002. They are 13-21 on the road against Buffalo. With that said, however, the Colts have won seven of the last eight games against the Bills, with their only loss coming in the final week of the 2009 season in a game that the Colts essentially didn't even try in, resting Peyton Manning and other starters for the playoffs. The two teams have met just once in the Andrew Luck era, a 20-13 Colts win at Lucas Oil Stadium in 2012.
- In that game in 2012, T.Y. Hilton became the first player in Colts history to return a punt for a touchdown and catch a receiving touchdown in the same game. Also on that day, head coach Chuck Pagano - who was battling leukemia - made an appearance at the game with owner Jim Irsay in the owner's box to a nice cheer from the crowd as a couple of cheerleaders shaved their heads in support. We talk a lot about Pagano and his job security, but when thinking back to the last matchup between these two teams and realizing that Pagano was still battling leukemia and not yet back with the team, it's awesome to see where he is today and realize that he'll be out there - healthy - this Sunday coaching the Colts.
- The Colts are 33-29 all-time in season openers. They are, however, 10-6 since 1999, but in the Andrew Luck era they are just 1-2 in season openers (losing to the Bears in 2012 and the Broncos in 2014 but beating the Raiders in 2013). When opening on the road, the Colts have a 13-15 record (0-2 under Chuck Pagano).
- This will be the fifth time in the last six seasons that the Colts will open the season on the road. Dating back to 2000, the Colts have opened on the road in 12 of the last 16 seasons.
- Chuck Pagano will be coaching the Colts on Sunday, while Rex Ryan will be making his debut on the sidelines for the Bills. Interestingly enough, both men are former defensive coordinators for the Baltimore Ravens, with Ryan filling that role from 2005-2008 and Pagano filling the role in 2011. That role led to both of them getting their first NFL head coaching job (Ryan with the Jets, Pagano with the Colts). Furthermore, both Chuck Pagano and Rex Ryan have brothers who are current defensive coordinators in the NFL, with Chuck's brother John the defensive coordinator for the San Diego Chargers and Rex's brother Rob the defensive coordinator for the New Orleans Saints.
- Former Colts first round pick Jerry Hughes will be facing his old team for the first time in a regular season game, as Hughes was traded to the Bills in 2013. He has turned his career around, recording double-digit sack seasons in each of his two seasons with Buffalo and earning a big contract this offseason.
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