INDIANAPOLIS – The frequent flyer miles will build up pretty quickly for the Colts in 2017.
From a heavy west coast start to the year, to a unique December slate of games, the 2017 schedule for the Colts has plenty of intrigue.
Here are five takeaways from the Colts 2017 schedule:**
- Interesting December: The final month of the 2017 slate has a few storylines. In Week 14 (Dec. 10), the Colts will travel to Buffalo in what could be an interesting game to deal with from a weather standpoint. Just a handful of days later, the Colts will be hosting the Denver Broncos and their vaunted defense on Thursday Night Football. In Week 16, the Colts will head to Baltimore for a Saturday afternoon contest the day before Christmas Eve. And the regular season finale comes in the annual December visit from the Houston Texans on New Year's Eve afternoon. All four of those teams were in the playoff race last year and offer various road blocks for the Colts in 2017.
- NFC West Action To Start: One of the first things that stands out when looking at the Colts' slate in 2017 is right at the start. The Colts will play all four of their NFC West games in the first five weeks of the season. That means the two longest road trips of the year for the Colts (@Los Angeles and @Seattle) fall in the opening quarter. A Week Three home game versus the Cleveland Browns will split contests against the @Rams & Cardinals, and then the @Seahawks & 49ers to begin the season.
- Division In The Middle: It will take six weeks into the season before the Colts play their first AFC South game. Starting with a Monday night game against the Titans on Oct. 16, the Colts will play five divisional games in the next eight weeks. That chunk will largely shape how the division race will look for the Colts come December. The AFC South was a division that had three teams separated by just one game last year. If it's that close again in 2017, the middle of the year will heavily impact the divisional race and potential tiebreakers.
- Thursday Night Challenge: The NFL is clearly trying to spice up Thursday games in 2017. Instead of the typical divisional games played on short weeks, the Colts will host the Denver Broncos on Thursday, Dec. 14. The Colts have played the Broncos five times in the last four years, so they have a good understanding of their personnel (granted the Broncos do have new head coach Vance Joseph in 2017). Nonetheless, the Colts will still be preparing for one of the league's best defenses, on a short week, after back-to-back road games.
- Bye Week Sandwich: The 2017 bye week will fall in Week 11 for the Colts. That's sandwiched between two big home games against the Steelers and Titans, respectively. The Colts' mini-bye after their Thursday night game will come in Week 15. The Colts will play 10 straight games to start the year, including their three longest road trips (Seattle, Los Angeles and Houston).
The analysis from those producing content on Colts.com does not necessarily represent the thoughts of the Indianapolis Colts organization. Any conjecture, analysis or opinions formed by Colts.com content creators is not based on inside knowledge gained from team officials, players or staff.