The Indianapolis Colts are one of just three NFL teams that will begin the season with two straight road games. But there’s still a lot to like about the 2022 schedule for the Colts.
At least that’s what NFL writer Ian Wharton of Bleacher Report says. He labeled the Colts one of his two winners from the 2022 NFL schedule release on May 12.
“The Colts are already off to an advantageous start in 2022 after evaluating their schedule,” Wharton wrote. “They have the easiest schedule, according to DraftKings’ team win projections.”
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Schedule Begins With Houston Texans, Jacksonville Jaguars
While the Colts begin with two road matchups, the combined 2021 records of Indianapolis’ two opponents in those games was 7-27.
“Their inherent (schedule) advantage begins with AFC South bottom-feeders in Houston and Jacksonville,” wrote Wharton.
The Colts have lost seven straight in Jacksonville, but Indianapolis has also won six of seven versus the Jaguars at Lucas Oil Stadium. Overall, the Colts lead the all-time series against the Jaguars 26-16.
Indianapolis has dominated Houston, owning a 32-9 record in the rivalry. Since the creation of the AFC South in 2002, the Texans and Jaguars have combined to sweep the Colts in a season only three times.
Indianapolis Colts to Face NFC East
The second advantage Wharton argued that Indianapolis received in its 2022 schedule was facing the NFC East.
“Both Dallas and Philadelphia are quality teams, but neither is head-and-shoulders better than the Colts,” Wharton wrote. “As a division, the NFC East has only one team projected to win more games than lose.”
The Dallas Cowboys won the NFC East last year with 12 victories, but that was the first time the division had a team earn more than 10 wins in a season since 2017. There’s a lot of parity in the division but also a lot of mediocrity over recent years.
In 2020, the Washington Commanders won the NFC East with a 7-9 record.
Indianapolis will visit Dallas in Week 13, but the Colts will host arguably the next two toughest opponents from the NFC East — Washington and Philadelphia.
Colts Draw Tough Opponents at Home
The Colts receiving the opportunity to face potentially more difficult teams at home was a theme on their schedule. In addition to Dallas, the Colts will face the Denver Broncos, New England Patriots and Las Vegas Raiders on the road.
But Indianapolis will host the Kansas City Chiefs, Pittsburgh Steelers and Los Angeles Chargers at home.
“Getting the Los Angeles Chargers and Kansas City Chiefs at home are also notable advantages. Ryan will be relied upon to be the difference in these games,” Wharton wrote. “Carson Wentz couldn’t be trusted in the most critical games of the year and was the primary factor in collapsing down the stretch of 2021.”
The Colts will finish the 2022 regular season with matchups against the New York Giants and Texans. Similar to the start of Indianapolis’ schedule, those teams combined to go 8-26 last season.
In 2021, a slow start and rough finish led to Indianapolis missing the postseason. The way the 2022 schedule looks right now, the Colts have an excellent opportunity of avoiding issues out of the gate and at the finish line this season.