Calvin Ridley / Christian Kirk vs. Dallis Flowers / Darrell Baker Jr.
This matchup could get really ugly. I don’t remember a cornerback group this thin in my entire life following the Colts. Not a knock against Flowers or Baker Jr., but they would probably be depth guys in any other NFL team. Baker has no NFL starts, and Flowers has just one to his name. Ridley and Kirk on the other hand, are two very good receivers, with a ton of experience in the NFL, and Ridley will be playing in his first game in quite some time as he was reinstated from a gambling suspension. I don’t see any way the Colts win this matchup.
Trevor Lawrence vs. Gus Bradley
Lawrence has the Colts’ number. Last year the talented quarterback averaged over 85% completion rate, did not turn the ball over, and scored 5 touchdowns combined in both games. Bradley just does not seem to figure out a way to stop Lawrence, as he systematically dismantles the defense, and last year it was a much more talented unit than this year. We might be in for a record breaking performance here.
Evan Engram vs. Zaire Franklin / Shaq Leonard
Zaire Franklin was not particularly solid against the pass last season, and Shaq Leonard is coming off an injury ridden 2022 season so he might take a few weeks to get up to speed. Engram wa re-signed by the Jags this offseason after having his most consistent season in the NFL and establishing himself as one of Lawrence’s favourite targets.
Josh Allen vs. Braden Smith
Allen has enjoyed playing against the Colts in the past, as the talented edge rusher seems to have Braden Smith’s number. The combination of speed and explosiveness is Smith’s weakness, and having a rookie quarterback to cover the Colts will most likely want to keep this one healthy and upright as much as possible. Smith figuring out how to block Allen would go a long way towards those goals.
Walker Little vs. Kwity Paye
Kwity Paye is entering the famous “make or break year”. So far we have seen flashes here and there, with the occasional big game, but so far nothing has made me think he could reach Pro Bowl level. Now in his third season Paye needs to get off to a good start in order to make that first rounder the Colts’ spent on him worth it.