Colts’ early slate AFC South matchups will impact season-long divisional race

In what should be a competitive AFC South division, three early-season divisional games for the Indianapolis Colts will set the tone for the remainder of the year.

In the Colts’ first six games, three of them will come against their AFC South counterparts, two of which will take place on the road. The Colts begin the season at home against Houston. Then in Week 5, they play at Jacksonville, followed by traveling to Tennessee the next week.

A strong start to the season for the Colts against their divisional foes – or a not so strong start – can have ramifications that will impact the final results a few months down the road.

Just last season, the AFC South race came down to the wire in Week 18, where a Texans’ win over the Colts won them division at 10-7. The Colts would finish 9-8 as would the Jaguars who lost their final game to the Titans to finish 9-8 as well.

With two of the Colts’ first three divisional games coming on the road, they do get the benefit of finishing the season against the Titans and Jaguars at home in Weeks 16 and 18, respectively. Again, in what could be a close divisional race, having home-field advantage in those final weeks could prove to be crucial.

However, after facing the Texans in Week 1, the Colts will travel to Houston for their second matchup with them in Week 8, with that being the last time they will see them during the regular season. That scheduling eliminates any opportunity for the Colts to pick up ground or to create additional separation late in the season through a head-to-head matchup.

For just about every NFL team, the regular season will come with its ups and downs. However, with divisional matchups frontloaded on the schedule for the Colts, getting off to a fast start will be important so they don’t put themselves in a early hole when it comes to the AFC South race.

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