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Tuesday, April 14, 2009
Colts schedule analysis


Posted by ESPN.com's Paul Kuharsky

Breakdown: The Colts play five prime-time games and don't have an afternoon kickoff on the road until Oct. 25. They play a Monday night game at Miami (Sept. 21), followed by a Sunday night game at Arizona (Sept. 27) in Weeks 2 and 3, and then after hosting Seattle, they play Sunday night again against the Titans in Nashville (Oct. 11).

Indianapolis' AFC South schedule seems nicely spread out -- only a Nov. 29 game at Houston and a Dec. 6 rematch against Tennessee at Lucas Oil Stadium come back-to-back. And that perennial big game against New England is the conclusion of a three-game home stand, but the follow-up could be tough against the physical Ravens on the road.

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The Colts' opponents combined for a .512 winning percentage last year, meaning this ranks as the league's 13th-toughest schedule.

Complaint department: It's hard to grumble about a finale in Buffalo as it's one of only two potential cold weather games all season (the other is in Baltimore on Nov. 22). But if the Colts need a win in the finale against the Bills to secure a playoff spot or seed and it's freezing and windy, they may need the run game and defense to provide more help than usual for Peyton Manning.

Rested and ready: The Rams and the 49ers haven't seen the Colts in the regular season since 2005 and the NFC West teams get Indianapolis in consecutive weeks following the Colts' Oct. 18 bye. St. Louis and San Francisco could have drawn the Colts at a better time.

Colts Regular-Season Schedule (All times Eastern)

Week 1: Sunday, Sept. 13, JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS, 1:00 p.m.
Week 2: Monday, Sept. 21, at Miami Dolphins, 8:30 p.m., ESPN
Week 3: Sunday, Sept. 27, at Arizona Cardinals, 8:20 p.m., NBC
Week 4: Sunday, Oct. 4, SEATTLE SEAHAWKS, 1:00 p.m.
Week 5: Sunday, Oct. 11, at Tennessee Titans, 8:20 p.m., NBC
Week 6: BYE
Week 7: Sunday, Oct. 25, at St. Louis Rams, 1:00 p.m.
Week 8: Sunday, Nov. 1, SAN FRANCISCO, 49ers 1:00 p.m.
Week 9: Sunday, Nov. 8, HOUSTON TEXANS, 1:00 p.m.
Week 10: Sunday, Nov. 15, NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS, 8:20 p.m., NBC
Week 11: Sunday, Nov. 22, at Baltimore Ravens, 1:00 p.m.
Week 12: Sunday, Nov. 29, at Houston Texans, 1:00 p.m.
Week 13: Sunday, Dec. 6, TENNESSEE TITANS, 1:00 p.m.
Week 14: Sunday, Dec. 13, DENVER BRONCOS, 1:00 p.m.
Week 15: Thursday, Dec. 17, at Jacksonville Jaguars, 8:20 p.m., NFLN
Week 16: Sunday, Dec. 27, NEW YORK JETS, 4:15 p.m.
Week 17: Sunday, Jan. 3, at Buffalo Bills, 1:00 p.m.