INDIANAPOLIS –Safe to say the Colts 2014 schedule starts with a bang.
Here's five takeaways I have from the 2014 slate of games.**
A Mile High Trip
**The spectacle that took place on Oct. 20, 2013 at Lucas Oil Stadium will go down as one of the more memorable regular season games in Colts history.
Now Peyton Manning and the defending AFC Champion Broncos will welcome the Colts to a place they've had some thrilling victories in over the past dozen years.
In starting off the 2014 season, the Colts will travel to Denver on 9/7 for Sunday Night Football.
Similar to the Patriots matchup, a win over the Broncos would go a long way in helping the Colts establish themselves as a top AFC team, and potentially land one of the coveted byes in the postseason.**
Patriots/Colts Round 15
**For the first time since 2009, the Patriots will be the road team in one of the NFL's most competitive rivalries (the teams will meet at Lucas Oil again in the 2015 regular season).
The Colts will host the Patriots on Sunday Night Football on 11/16 following an Indianapolis bye week.
Divisional realignment following the 2001 season hasn't stopped these two former AFC East teams from playing each other.
The two teams have met 14 times since 2003 with the Patriots currently riding a four-game win streak (the Colts won five of the previous six).**
RGIII And Chip Kelly Invade Lucas Oil
*Yes, RGIII (and Pierre Graç*on) will take on the only man drafted before him during the 2012 draft. On the first Sunday following Thanksgiving (11/30), the Colts will host the Redskins for a 1:00 p.m. kickoff.
Much will be made about that ballyhooed matchup but don't forget about the other NFC East team that Colts fans will see at home this season.
Chip Kelly saw a lot of Andrew Luck in college and now the high-flying Eagles offense will travel to Indianapolis (don't forget about the Ryan Grigson connection either).
The Colts and Eagles will play on Monday Night Football on 9/15 to open up the home slate of the 2014 season at Lucas Oil Stadium.
**Last year, the Colts had a brutal four-game stretch that began with a trip to San Francisco and concluded with a home matchup against Denver.
On paper, the 2014 slate doesn't have anything that directly compares to last year but a six-game stretch in October-November caught my eye.
From Weeks 5-11, the Colts will take on Baltimore, @Houston (Thursday), Cincinnati, @Pittsburgh, New York Giants (Monday) and New England (after a bye week).
That's a stern test against teams that have routinely found themselves in the playoffs the past few years.
AFC South Slate
For just the third time in franchise history, the Colts compiled a clean slate through the AFC South.
The three opposing teams in the South will select in the top 11 of this year's draft to go along with some significant coaching changes and free agent additions.
Weeks 3-6 (three divisional games) and Weeks 12-17 (three divisional games) are the stretches that include all of the Colts divisional games in 2014.
The Colts have had some thrilling comebacks the last two years in road contests at Tennessee and this year Indianapolis will close the regular season in Nashville.
INDIANAPOLIS COLTS 2014 SCHEDULE
Sunday, 9/7 @ Denver 8:30PM
Monday, 9/15 PHILADELPHIA 8:30PM
Sunday, 9/21 @ Jacksonville 1:00PM
Sunday, 9/28 TENNESSEE 1:00PM
Sunday, 10/5 BALTIMORE 1:00PM
Thursday, 10/9 @Houston 8:25PM
Sunday, 10/19 CINCINNATI 1:00PM
Sunday, 10/26 @ Pittsburgh 4:25PM
Monday, 11/3 @NY Giants 8:30PM
Sunday, 11/9 BYE WEEK
Sunday, 11/16 NEW ENGLAND 8:30PM
Sunday, 11/23 JACKSONVILLE 1:00PM
Sunday, 11/30 WASHINGTON 1:00PM
Sunday, 12/7 @ Cleveland 1:00PM
Sunday, 12/14 HOUSTON 1:00PM
Sunday, 12/21 @ Dallas 4:25PM
Sunday, 12/28 @Tennessee 1:00PM