The NFL announces the schedules, and we glance through to see who is coming to our house, and where our team must play on the road.
After that, there is a long wait just to get to training camps. The roster becomes the main focus, and with the Indianapolis Colts, there is the coaching change on top of that.
With Jim Caldwell coming in after Tony Dungy decided to pursue other endeavors, many questioned if anything would change. "Well he is just an extension of Coach Dungy," many people said, but it still remains to be seen just how different he will be during the ups and downs of the season.
Aside from the coaching focus, there is the health of Peyton Manning, Bob Sanders, and pretty much everyone else on the team it seems. Health concerns have been the story of the Colts for the past few seasons.
Now let’s look at another aspect of the upcoming season: the schedule for the Colts.
Beginning the season at home on a Sunday afternoon against a well-known Jacksonville Jaguars team should be comforting. It is a big game though, because the division will be as tough as ever this year. The Jaguars had an awful season last year, but they have added some new players, and they too are now healthy.
After the first week jitters are gone, the Colts head to Miami to take on the Dolphins and their Wildcat offense on Monday Night Football. The Colts live for the prime-time games, and this one will be no exception. It is their only Monday Night Football appearance this year, and the weather (rain) will play a big factor in this one.
The third week of the season finds the Colts traveling to Arizona to take on the defending NFC champion Cardinals. Luckily for the Colts, this game will be played indoors where they are quite familiar with the field. This should be a great game not only because of the offenses, but both teams are fundamentally sound.
Finally the Colts will come home the following week and take on a reloaded Seahawks team. If this team is healthy, they can be dangerous. They have new weapons on both sides of the ball that could give the Colts fits. If this game were at Seattle, I would be worried, but playing at Lucas Oil should help the Colts in this one.
Sunday Night Football has a great game the next week, with the division rivals squaring off in Tennessee as the Titans host the Colts. The Titans have one of, if not the best secondary in the NFL. The Titans have given the Colts a lot of trouble the last few years, and this one will be no exception.
The Colts get their bye week here in Week Six.
After getting some rest, the Colts make the short trip to St. Louis to handle a less-than-impressive Rams squad.
The next three weeks, the Colts will be playing at home, but two of the three will be tough games. The San Francisco 49ers come first, which shouldn’t be too bad, but then the up-and-coming Houston Texans come to town for a divisional game. After that, it is what is now regarded as one of the best games of the season; the New England Patriots vs. the Colts.
These two have a short history, but what a history it is. Tom Brady and Manning will (hopefully) square off in a game that looks to pick up where it left off after the '07 game.
Brady is back, and this game has that good feel to it again. It’s just not the same with Brady not playing.
After that tough test, comes another. The Colts travel to Baltimore to face the Ravens in one of the best games of the year. The Colts and the city of Baltimore go way back, and the fans as well as the players, will be jacked up for this one.
The rest of the season; @ Houston, vs. Tennessee, vs. Denver, @ Jacksonville, vs. New York Jets, and @ Buffalo aren’t the marquee games that the first half of the season presents, but that will be a good thing for the Colts.
They Colts will need as much rest as they can get, and depending on injuries and trades around the league, the season could look a lot different than it does now. The Colts will look to win enough games, then look to rest starters going into the final game against the Bills, but lucky for us, that is a long, long way away.