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Colts 2023 home opener: Richardson, Steichen, odds, and the surprise factor

A closer look into the Indianapolis Colts’ 2023 season opener against the Jacksonville Jaguars and what fans should expect.

Syndication: Indianapolis Jenna Watson/IndyStar, Indianapolis Star via Imagn Content Services, LLC

The 2023 regular season is upon us. The Colts will host the Jacksonville Jaguars this Sunday, and the duo of rookie QB Anthony Richardson and new head coach Shane Steichen will be showcased for the first time in a meaningful match-up. It has been hinted that Steichen has shown very little to the league ahead of the opener.

Richardson not only has the skill set to be a formidable force, with poise and a good feel in the pocket, and probably the best arm the Colts have seen on the field since Jeff George, but his speed and athleticism bring an element of surprise that might just catch the Jaguars off guard.

Historically, these divisional games have been nail-biters, and while experts heavily favor the Jaguars, there are some essential elements Colts fans should keep an eye on.

1. Richardson & Steichen Combo

We’ve traded in the consistent pocket presence of Matt Ryan for the dynamic and electrifying capabilities of Anthony Richardson. Coupled with Steichen’s fresh game-planning, expect some fireworks and perhaps a few unexpected plays.

2. The Colts’ Arsenal

Even with the absence of Jonathan Taylor, Richardson will have weapons. Wideout Michael Pittman Jr. has been a reliable possession receiver with a penchant for making contested catches. Alec Pierce is known for his deep ball speed but didn’t get to showcase it much in his rookie season. Rookie Josh Downs is difficult to cover in short areas of the field, and can pick up yards after the catch. A synergy has also been noticed between Richardson and tight end Kylen Granson during training camp.

Don’t forget, even without Taylor, the Colts beat Jacksonville last October.

3. The Jaguars’ Defensive Puzzle

One potential challenge for Jacksonville could be found in the secondary. The loss of Shaquill Griffin will require some adjustment and, especially early in the season, it could be an area the Colts can exploit.

4. The Lawrence Equation

QB Trevor Lawrence is undoubtedly a force to reckon with. One way to neutralize his impact is to maintain drives and manage the clock. Keeping Lawrence on the sidelines, and reducing his possessions, could help dictate the game’s rhythm and pace.

As of this writing, DraftKings Sportsbook favors the Jaguars by 4.5 points.

How will Steichen’s game plan work? How will Richardson’s athleticism test the Jaguars defense? How will we fare without Taylor? All these questions and more will be answered come Sunday.