Key Additions: Justin Houston, Devin Funchess, Spencer Ware, Charcandrick West, Rock Ya-Sin, Parris Campbell, Ben Banogu
Key Departures: Andrew Luck, Ryan Hewitt, Matt Slauson, Al Woods, Ryan Grant, J.J. Wilcox
Key Returns: Pierre Desir, Clayton Geathers, Adam Vinatieri, J’Marcus Webb
|Week 1||Sept. 8th 4:05 PM ET||@ Los Angeles Chargers (CBS)|
|Week 2||Sept. 15th 1:00 PM ET||@ Tennessee Titans (CBS)|
|Week 3||Sept. 22nd 1:00 PM ET||vs. Atlanta Falcons (CBS)|
|Week 4||Sept. 29th 1:00 PM ET||vs. Oakland Raiders (CBS)|
|Week 5||Oct. 6th 8:20 PM ET||@ Kansas City Chiefs (NBC)|
|Week 6||Bye Week|
|Week 7||Oct. 20th 1:00 PM ET||vs. Houston Texans (CBS)|
|Week 8||Oct. 27th 4:25 PM ET||vs. Denver Broncos (CBS)|
|Week 9||Nov. 3rd 1:00 PM ET||@ Pittsburgh Steelers (CBS)|
|Week 10||Nov. 10th 4:05 PM ET||vs. Miami Dolphins (CBS)|
|Week 11||Nov. 17th 1:00 PM ET||vs. Jacksonville Jaguars (CBS)|
|Week 12||Nov. 21st 8:20 PM ET||@ Houston Texans (FOX)|
|Week 13||Dec. 1st 1:00 PM ET||vs. Tennessee Titans (CBS)|
|Week 14||Dec. 8th 1:00 PM ET||@ Tampa Bay Buccaneers (CBS)|
|Week 15||Dec. 16th 8:15 PM ET||vs. New Orleans Saints (ESPN)|
|Week 16||Dec. 22nd 1:00 PM ET||vs. Carolina Panthers (FOX)|
|Week 17||Dec. 29th 1:00 PM ET||@ Jacksonville Jaguars (CBS)|
After a disappointing 2017 campaign, the 2018 Indianapolis Colts were headed in a similar direction after compiling a 1-5 start only to come to life and roar into the playoffs as a 6 seed. For a rejuvenated Andrew Luck and newcomer’s head coach Frank Reich, defeating division rival Houston in the Wild-Card Round was a major success though they got thumped by the Chiefs at Arrowhead in the Divisional Round. Unfortunately, the Colts’ high hopes entering the 2019 season have been damaged with a major void due to QB Andrew Luck’s sudden bombshell retirement right before the season. The Colts will now struggle to win their division and compete in the AFC despite their strong draft class and team additions.
The offense returns largely intact, with TY Hilton still leading the receiver group. In addition, breakout tight end Eric Ebron and other top tight end Jack Doyle also highlight a pass-catching group that welcomes former Panthers WR Devin Funchess and 2nd round draft pick WR Parris Campbell from Ohio State. The RBs group returns surprising workhorse Marlon Mack, who is slated for the starting role. Complimenting him will be Nyheim Hines, former Texans D’onta Foreman, and former Chiefs Spencer Ware, who will likely compete for the backup role. Of course, the strength of this unit amplifies with the presence of a strong QB. The reins will be handed to Jacoby Brissett in midst of Luck’s stunning retirement; however, this may not be comforting for Colts fans considering Brissett played QB a large part of the 2017 season where the team garnered a 4-12 record.
The defense also made strides after a horrendous 2017 campaign and returns tackling leader/ DROY Darius Leonard, who is hoping to reach even greater heights his sophomore season. Alongside him, this season will now be longtime Chief Justin Houston, who hopes to bolster the defensive corp. Other notable players returning include Clayton Geathers, Malik Hooker, and Pierre Desir from the secondary. This group returns as an improving unit, padded by 2nd round pick CB Rock Ya-Sin from Temple.
To prove that they can move forward with their heads high after Luck’s retirement, the Colts must bring the fire in Week 1’s road matchup at the Chargers. Other notable road tilts include the Chiefs, Saints, and Steelers. Aside from the typical division matchups and a home game against the Falcons, the Colts have a reasonable schedule, which includes contests against the Dolphins, Buccaneers, and Raiders.
A team can have all the firepower it wants, but every good team needs a leader to guide them to greater heights. On the Colts, it has been Andrew Luck, and the distinct endings to the 2017 and 2018 campaigns speak for themselves on Luck’s value to the team. Now that the QB has emotionally chosen to leave football, the team’s ability to make a Super Bowl run is severely hindered. With him, they can make a case for being one of the top teams in the AFC. Without him, they may be hovering around being a 500 team. For now, all the Colts can do is move forward with Brissett during the 2019 season, and look to the 2020 draft for a future franchise QB to lead this organization.