INDIANAPOLIS –The Indianapolis Colts open up the home portion of their 2017 regular season schedule Week 2 against the Arizona Cardinals.
With the season right around the corner, let's take a close look at the matchup:
Week 2:Indianapolis Colts vs. Arizona CardinalsSunday, Sept. 17; 1 p.m.Lucas Oil Stadium2016 synopsis:The Cardinals in 2016 finished with a 7-8-1 record, finishing in second place in the NFC West standings. The team could never really get any positive momentum going, as it would never win more than two games in a row the entire year, the last such streak coming the final two weeks of the season in road victories over the Seattle Seahawks and Los Angeles Rams.
With offensive guru and former Indianapolis Colts coach Bruce Arians at the helm once again, the Cardinals featured one of the best overall offenses in the league in 2016, ranking ninth overall in yards per game (366.8) and passing yards per game (258.5).
Veteran quarterback Carson Palmer had another quality season under center for Arizona; in 15 games, he completed 364-of-597 passes (61 percent) for 4,233 yards with 26 touchdowns to 14 interceptions, though he was also sacked 40 times on the year.
The real star of the offense, however, was running back David Johnson, who not only ran the ball 293 times for 1,239 yards (4.2 yards per carry) and 16 touchdowns, but he also caught 80 passes for 879 yards and four scores through the air. Future Hall of Fame wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald, meanwhile, had yet another tremendous season, catching a team-best 107 passes for 1,023 yards and six touchdowns.
The Arizona defense, however, was even better, allowing just 305.2 yards per game – good enough for second fewest in the NFL. They were especially stout against the rush, allowing just 94.9 rushing yards per game.
Linebackers Markus Golden and Chandler Jones let the effort up front, finishing with 12.5 and 11 sacks and four forced fumbles each, respectively. Defensive tackle Calais Campbell had another strong year, finishing with eight sacks from the interior to go along with six passes defensed. Cornerback Marcus Cooper (four interceptions; one touchdown), safety D.J. Swearinger (three interceptions) and cornerback Patrick Peterson (three interceptions) each led the secondary for Arizona.
In all, Peterson, Fitzgerald and Johnson were each named to the Pro Bowl, while Johnson also earned First Team All-Pro honors.
Key additions:Defensive end Jarvis Jones, linebacker Karlos Dansby, safety Antoine Bethea, center Tony Bergstrom, quarterback Blaine Gabbert
2017 NFL Draft picks:Linebacker Haason Reddick (Round 1, Pick 13), safety Budda Baker (Round 2, Pick 4), wide receiver Chad Williams (Round 3, Pick 34), guard Dorian Johnson (Round 4, Pick 8), tackle Will Holden (Round 5, Pick 13), running back T.J. Logan (Round 5, Pick 36), safety Rudy Ford (Round 6, Pick 24)
Key losses:Defensive tackle Calais Campbell (Jaguars), safety Tony Jefferson (Ravens), safety D.J. Swearinger (Redskins), linebacker Kevin Minter (Bengals), linebacker Sio Moore (Texans), guard Evan Mathis (retirement), cornerback Tharold Simon (free agent), defensive end Alex Okafor (Saints), tight end Darren Fells (Lions), halfback Stepfan Taylor (free agent), cornerback Marcus Cooper (Bears), guard Taylor Boggs (Bears), tackle Earl Watford (Jaguars)
Series history vs. Colts:Tied at 8-8
Last matchup:Nov. 24, 2013: Cardinals 40, Colts 11; University of Phoenix Stadium (Glendale, Ariz.)
2017 Colts Season Previews:
• Week 1 (at Los Angeles Rams)
• Week 2 (vs. Arizona Cardinals)
• Week 3 (vs. Cleveland Browns)
• Week 4 (at Seattle Seahawks)
• Week 5 (vs. San Francisco 49ers)
• Week 6 (at Tennessee Titans)
• Week 7 (vs. Jacksonville Jaguars)
• Week 8 (at Cincinnati Bengals)
• Week 9 (at Houston Texans)
• Week 10 (vs. Pittsburgh Steelers)
• Week 12 (vs. Tennessee Titans)
• Week 13 (at Jacksonville Jaguars)
• Week 14 (at Buffalo Bills)
• Week 15 (vs. Denver Broncos)
• Week 16 (at Baltimore Ravens)
• Week 17 (vs. Houston Texans)
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