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Colts schedule 2016: Opposing ESPN writers predict Colts' game-by-game results

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We take a look at what opposing ESPN writers say about the Colts' schedule game-by-game - and it features a late-season collapse.

Thomas J. Russo-USA TODAY Sports

With the schedule released, there's plenty of talk about how teams will do in the 2016 season.  We released our game-by-game predictions for the Colts and I had them finishing 10-6, while ESPN's Mike Wells also had them at 10-6 on the year in his early predictions.

Another interesting way to look at these game-by-game predictions, however, is by looking at what the opposing writers say.  Each of ESPN's team writers took a game-by-game look at their team's schedule, and so it is interesting to look at what they say about the Colts.  I've compiled the opposing writers' takes on their team's game against the Colts (h/t to Bleeding Green Nation for the idea), and if what they predict actually happens, it will be a disappointing late-season collapse.

Week 1: Detroit Lions, Sunday, September 11, 4:25 p.m. - WIN (1-0)

"A homecoming game for Jim Caldwell opens the season. The Lions coach will get to see the player the Colts drafted with the No. 1 overall pick in 2012 a few months after Caldwell was fired, Andrew Luck. Indianapolis should be a lot better than it was last season with a healthy Luck running the show, and it should be enough for the Colts to win." -- Michael Rothstein

Week 2: at Denver Broncos, Sunday, September 18, 4:25 p.m. - LOSS (1-1)

"The Colts handed the Broncos one of their four regular-season losses in 2015 -- 27-24 on Nov. 29 in Indianapolis -- and the Colts earned a playoff win in Denver to close out the Broncos' 2014 season. It means the Broncos will face two quarterbacks taken No. 1 overall in the draft -- Cam Newton and Andrew Luck -- to open their Super Bowl defense." -- Jeff Legwold

Week 3: San Diego Chargers, Sunday, September 25, 4:25 p.m. - WIN (2-1)

"Free-agent addition safety Dwight Lowery faces his former team in Indianapolis. The Chargers have defeated the Colts in Indianapolis on their past two trips to the Midwest." -- Eric D. Williams

Week 4: at Jacksonville Jaguars (in London), Sunday, October 2, 9:30 a.m. - LOSS (2-2)

"This will be the first time the Jaguars have played a divisional foe in Wembley Stadium. It's also the first time the Jaguars will have seen Andrew Luck since Dec. 18, 2004. He missed both games against the Jaguars last season but is 5-1 against them in his career. The Jaguars haven't beaten Luck since Week 3 in 2012, but they should have the advantage this week because of their experience playing in London the past three years." -- Mike DiRocco

Week 5: Chicago Bears, Sunday, October 9, 1:00 p.m. - WIN (3-2)

"The Colts were a disappointing 8-8 last season. That was just the third time since 2000 that Indianapolis failed to win 10 games. I expect them to be much better in 2016." -- Jeff Dickerson

Week 6: at Houston Texans, Sunday, October 16, 8:30 p.m. - WIN (4-2)

"The Colts head into this game having won three straight meetings against the Texans in Houston, including one with then-39-year-old quarterback Matt Hasselbeck starting. The streak stops on this night on prime-time television." --Mike Wells

Week 7: at Tennessee Titans, Sunday, October 23, 1:00 p.m. - WIN (5-2)

"Loss. The Titans have lost nine games in a row to the Colts, and are overdue for a breakthrough. Lately, it has been two teams with bad offensive lines, but the winner has done better working around the deficiency. The Colts are that team again." -- Paul Kuharsky

Week 8: Kansas City Chiefs, Sunday, October 30, 1:00 p.m. - WIN (6-2)

"The Chiefs head back to Indianapolis for the first time since their infamous playoff collapse after the 2013 season. The Chiefs won't blow a four-touchdown, third-quarter lead because they won't have one." -- Adam Teicher

Week 9: at Green Bay Packers, Sunday, November 6, 4:25 p.m. - LOSS (6-3)

"Andrew Luck threw for 362 yards in his only game against the Packers, a 30-27 win in 2012 in Indy. The Packers need this one because three straight on the road follow." -- Rob Demovsky

Week 10: BYE WEEK

Week 11: Tennessee Titans, Sunday, November 20, 1:00 p.m. - LOSS (6-4)

"Win. It's time. By accident, freak of nature or by actually playing well enough over the course of 60 minutes, the Titans withstand Andrew Luck and find a way to beat the Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium after 10 consecutive losses." -- Paul Kuharsky

Week 12: Pittsburgh Steelers, Thursday, November 24, 8:30 p.m. - LOSS (6-5)

"The Steelers can give thanks to the Colts' defense, which is still recovering from the 96 combined points it has given up in back-to-back losses to Pittsburgh. Roethlisberger has been especially hot in those games, throwing for nearly 900 yards and 10 touchdowns. Even if the Colts make improvements defensively, this is still a bad matchup for them. This is the eighth Thanksgiving Day game in franchise history." -- Jeremy Fowler

Week 13: at New York Jets, Monday, December 5, 8:30 p.m. - LOSS (6-6)

"The Jets beat up Andrew Luck last season on the road, and they'll do it again unless the Colts build a new offensive line between now and then. This is just a really good matchup for the Jets: their strong defensive front against a suspect pass-protecting offense. It'll be a convincing win for the home team." -- Rich Cimini

Week 14: Houston Texans, Sunday, December 11, 1:00 p.m. WIN (7-6)

"The Texans finally got a victory in Indianapolis last season after losing in their previous 13 trips there. They won't win two straight in Indianapolis." -- Mike Wells

Week 15: at Minnesota Vikings, Sunday, December 18, 1:00 p.m. - LOSS (7-7)

"Andrew Luck faces the Vikings for the first time since his NFL home debut back in 2012. If Luck is back to the player he was before last season, this will be a tough matchup for the Vikings. But with the playoffs drawing near, the Vikings will get a victory at home." -- Ben Goessling

Week 16: at Oakland Raiders, Saturday, December 24, 4:05 p.m. - LOSS (7-8)

"How different would the Raiders' present be if Terrelle Pryor had been successful in that comeback against Andrew Luck and the Colts in Indy in 2013? Meh. Derek Carr versus Luck is a matchup with of its own merits, and with the Raiders' defense and Carr both coming into their own, the Raiders close the home portion of their schedule with an impressive W." -- Paul Gutierrez

Week 17: Jacksonville Jaguars, Sunday, January 1, 1:00 p.m. - WIN (8-8)

"If the AFC South is as competitive as many think it will be, this could be a win-and-get-in game for the Jaguars. Facing Luck in that scenario is not ideal." -- Mike DiRocco



If the predictions from the ESPN opposing writers turned out to be true, it would mean a big collapse in the second half of the season for the Colts.  The schedule has them starting 6-2 but then losing six of their final eight games to finish at .500.  If they managed just an 8-8 record, odds are they wouldn't make the playoffs, and it would be especially disappointing considering it would be the same record as last year despite Andrew Luck coming back.  One constant among all of the writers seemed to be that the expectation is that Luck will rebound after a rough year and be dangerous once again this year, and if that happens, the Colts will very likely finish better than 8-8.  But in this schedule prediction, the Colts fall apart as the season goes on and finish .500 on the year.