INDIANAPOLIS – As Indianapolis heads into its twelfth season in the AFC South and aims to make the playoffs for the 13th time in the last 15 years, it will open the 2013 regular season by hosting Oakland on Sunday, September 8.
This marks the 16th time the Colts have opened a season at home, the first since an AFC Championship season of 2009.
Joining the 1987, 1988 and 1992 seasons, the Colts open at home for the first two games by entertaining Miami on September 15.
Indianapolis visits San Francisco and Jacksonville on consecutive Sundays to close September.
By visiting San Diego on Monday, October 14 (ESPN), Indianapolis will be playing the first of four nationally-televised games in a six-week span.
The Colts follow the San Diego game by hosting Denver six days later on Sunday, October 20 at 8:30 p.m. NBC Sports will have the game that features the return of Peyton Manning to Indianapolis.
An open date after the Denver game provides a break before Indianapolis meets Houston at Reliant Stadium on Sunday, November 3 at 8:30 p.m. on NBC. Houston has won the last two division titles, though the clubs split games last year.
After hosting St. Louis on November 10, the Colts meet Tennessee in Nashville on Thursday, November 14 on the NFL Network.
Indianapolis makes its third major visit of the season to the west on November 24 in meeting Arizona. It marks the third-ever appearance (1990, 2009) for the Colts in Arizona.
The final calendar month features divisional home tilts against Tennessee (December 1), Houston (December 15) and Jacksonville (December 29), all set for 1:00 p.m. The Colts will visit Cincinnati (December 8) and Kansas City (December 22) in their final road games, both scheduled for 1:00 p.m.
In meeting AFC West teams in this season’s schedule pattern, Oakland visits for only the fourth time. Denver has played in Indianapolis on eight prior occasions, counting the playoffs. San Diego and Kansas City have been more frequent opponents for Indianapolis, and this is the second straight season the Colts will visit Arrowhead Stadium for the 15th game of the year.
Miami visits for the second straight season and is doing so based on divisional finish last year, the same basis on which the Colts visit Cincinnati.
Seattle last visited the Colts in 2009, and this will be its fourth regular season game in Indianapolis. The Rams have made only three prior regular-season visits to Indianapolis. The Colts last visited San Francisco in league play in 2005.
This year marks a prominent return to prime-time for Indianapolis. Last year, the Colts were 1-0 in prime-time, and it was the first time in 13 years the club did not have at least three prime-time games. From 2005-11, the Colts had at least four regular-season prime-time games.
The Colts were prime-time viewing six times in 2007, five times from 2008-10, four times in 2001, 2005-06 and 2011 and three times in 2000, 2002-04.
This marks the fourth straight year all NFL teams play divisional games in Week 17.
This is the sixth consecutive year the Colts have played an AFC South game in November or December on the NFL Network. The Colts won in Jacksonville the first two times (31-24, 2008; 35-31, 2009), then topped Tennessee in 2010, 30-28, before beating Houston in 2011, 19-16. Last year, the Colts earned a 27-10 win at Jacksonville on November 8.
Indianapolis faces five opponents who made the playoffs last season (Home: Houston, Denver, Seattle; Away: Houston, San Francisco, Cincinnati).
Denver (13-3), Houston (12-4), San Francisco (11-4-1), Seattle (11-5) and Cincinnati (10-6) are the only 2013 opponents with winning records in 2012. No other opponent finished above .500.
Indianapolis faces two opposing head coaches, Jim Harbaugh and Bruce Arians, with prominent Colts backgrounds. Harbaugh was the club’s starting quarterback for the majority of his 1994-97 seasons in Indianapolis. He is in the club’s Ring of Honor. Arians was the quarterbacks coach with Indianapolis from 1998-2000, then was offensive coordinator last year. He went 9-3 in an interim capacity for Chuck Pagano, becoming one of only three NFL interim coaches to earn nine wins.
Two opposing general managers, Tom Telesco (San Diego) and David Caldwell (Jacksonville), have Indianapolis backgrounds and are in their first seasons in these roles.
This marks the club’s 30th season in Indianapolis. The Colts have opened at home 16 times. The longest streak of seasons with openers at home was six (1991-96), while the longest streak of opening seasons on the road was seven (2000-06).
In addition to the regular season schedule being announced, the preseason opponents and game times are set.
Indianapolis hosts Buffalo on Sunday, August 11 at 1:30 p.m. The Colts face the New York Giants in a nationally-telecast preseason outing on Sunday, August 18 at 7:00 p.m. Indianapolis hosts Cleveland on Saturday, August 24 at 7:00 p.m., then visits Cincinnati on Thursday, August 29 at 7:00 p.m.