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2013 Indianapolis Colts Schedule Released Highlighted by Peyton Manning’s Return to Indianapolis

Peyton Manning & Andrew Luck
(Getty, Doug Pensinger / Patrick Smith)

I already know the answer, but I’ll go ahead and ask anyway. Are you ready for some football?

The answer is, “HECK YEAH!” (or some variation).

With a week to go until the 2013 NFL Draft, the League officially released the weekly schedule for the upcoming season, giving fans and analysts everywhere something to talk about until the preseason begins with the annual Hall of Fame Game between the Miami Dolphins and the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday, August 4th.

Thanks to the Colts amazing 11-win turnaround last season, the team finds themselves with four prime time games in 2013 after only one in 2012 (a Thursday night win against Jacksonville on NFL Network).

In case you don’t know, here’s how an NFL team’s 16 game schedule is put together:

  • Each team plays the other three teams in their division twice (one home and one away game) - 6 games
  • One game against each team in another division within the conference. The Colts division is the AFC South which is scheduled to take on the AFC West this year (San Diego, Oakland, Denver, and Kansas City) - 4 games
  • >One game against each team from another division in the opposite conference (NFC). The AFC South is scheduled against the NFC West this year (St. Louis, San Francisco, Seattle, and Arizona) - 4 games
  • The final two games are against teams that finished the previous season in the same place in the remaining two divisions within a teams conference. The Colts finished 2nd in the AFC South and will face the teams that finished 2nd in the AFC East and AFC North, which this year will be the Dolphins in the East and Bengals in the North. - 2 games

Confused yet? No matter, the point is we’re closer to football being back!

While no NFL schedule is “easy” per sé, three of the Colts first four games are against teams that have generally underperformed, or just flat out haven’t been any good for a few years. The first major test comes in week three when they travel cross-country to take on last season’s Super Bowl runner-up, the San Francisco 49er’s who, on paper, look to be just as good, if not better than they were last year.

The game every Colts fan should have circled on their calendar comes in week seven when Peyton Manning returns to the house he essentially built for the first time wearing a Denver Broncos jersey for that week’s Sunday night game on NBC. It will be interesting to see the reaction Manning gets from the fans in attendance after the mixed feeling during the whole process that eventually led to his released a little over a year ago.

While I’m thrilled to see the team back in prime time, my one gripe with the schedule is that I wish they had spaced those games out a little more throughout the season instead of essentially butting them up against each other over a six week period. The only breaks being the teams bye week on October 27th, and a Noon kickoff (1pm EST) against St. Louis on November 10th. But again, at least football will be on TV, and that’s frankly all we need.

The complete Colts schedule is as follows:

2013 Indianapolis Colts Schedule
One other match up I personally find intriguing, but haven’t heard any analyst mention yet, is week 12 against the Arizona Cardinals who hired former Colts Offensive Coordinator, Bruce Arians as their head coach during the offseason. Arians, who took over Indianapolis as interim head coach while Chuck Pagano battled leukemia last season, was the first interim head coach to win the league’s Coach of the Year Award. He’ll certainly have an inside track on how to rattle Andrew Luck and will no doubt use that to his advantage.

So how will the Colts do in 2013? Barring any unforeseen injuries to key players, I don’t think another 11-5 season with a berth in the playoff’s is beyond the realm of possibility. What do you think?

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