Please once again welcome guest writer Jacob Lewin for his third piece for Colts Authority. He previously wrote about fan jersey ettiquette and the future of Austin Collie. You can find Jacob on Twitter at @jelewin. -KJR
The draft is three weeks away, the season is just around the corner, and after reading Josh Wilson’s article, “The Top 5 Most Anticipated Colts Games in 2013,” I decided to make a predictification, of sorts, and predict which games the NFL and corporate broadcasters will likely choose for primetime games this season. This is especially of interest for me, as a Colts fan displaced in New York City, where I struggle to find ways to watch Colts games, and relish the opportunity to watch with comfort and ease. Although the official schedule will be released on April 16th, I just couldn’t wait, and had to write this out.
As of last season, every team will get a slot on Thursday Night Football, so we know at least one game will be televised and that it will be on Thursday night. For the past five years, the Colts have played a division rival on Thursday Night Football (2012 - @
And hey, did you notice how the Colts won all five of those games, even during the forgettable 2011 season? For those who may not remember that Colts-Texans game, Dan Orlovsky’s game winning drive might have been the sole feel-good moment of that whole season, which kept the Colts shut-out of the Texans alive. Looking back, that really was a triumphant moment.
Generally a team will “max out” with 5 scheduled nationally televised games, and this is generally reserved for the NFL fan-favorites (clearly, to draw in top ratings). Although the Colts made a nice run last year, they are not yet a national fan favorite like the Patriots, Giants, Cowboys or Broncos (thanks to Mr. Manning) just yet, so I predict they will only land three nationally televised, primetime games. Below, you will find that I have predicted four games that can/should/could be set for primetime, although it is likely that only three will be scheduled.
Before I make my predictions, be aware of the Colts opponents for the 2013 season (at least the NFL releases the Home/Away Schedule by now)
Home: Houston Texans, Jacksonville Jaguars, Tennessee Titans, Denver Broncos, Oakland Raiders, Miami Dolphins, St. Louis Rams, Seattle Seahawks
Away: Houston Texans, Jacksonville Jaguars, Tennessee Titans, Kansas City Chiefs, San Diego Chargers, Cincinatti Bengals, Arizona Cardinals, San Francisco 49ers
And without further adieu:
1. Indianapolis Colts v. Tennessee Titans – As stated above, the Colts will play a Thursday Night game, and it will likely be against the Titans. This prediction is a function of a simple pattern: Colts played Jacksonville last year, Houston the year before and Tennessee the year before that. It just makes sense that the NFL will place them against the Titans to complete this cycle. I predict this game will take place anytime between Week 9 and Week 14, and because I am basing this completely on the aforementioned pattern, I think it will be at home: Last year the TNF game was away, and in 2011, the Colts’ TNF game was at home. Sheer elegance in its simplicity.
2. Indianapolis Colts v. Denver Broncos – DUH!!!! Arguably the most highly anticipated game in the history of all Football lore, and all that is good and holy. Okay…maybe not that much. But since Peyton was released, most football fans pondered the eventual day that Peyton Manning would return to Indianapolis (“The House That Peyton Built”) and to face-off with his old team. Surely, this is guaranteed Sunday Night Football material, and I’m ecstatic that the NFL schedule-makers decided to schedule this game in Indianapolis as opposed to Denver.
I am sure Peyton will get a rousing applause from the crowd, that many people with Peyton Manning Colts Jerseys (whatever!) and a home-team crowd that will root hard for Indy to come up with a win. Not only does this game have a loaded story line, If Indianapolis gets a W on National TV against its formal hero, it will solidify the Colts’ reputation as a force to be reckoned with.
3.Indianapolis Colts v. Seattle Seahawks – The clash of the 2012 Quarterback Class Titans. This has all the makings of a great matchup: on the one hand there is Andrew Luck, the #1 overall pick in 2012, who was drafted to start and save a franchise (so far, he has) and improbably took a team to the playoffs, but ultimately suffered a loss. On the other hand, Russell Wilson, undersized and passed-over until the 3rd round, fought to win a starting role and nevertheless led his team to wild card playoff win, and was seconds away from winning a divisional playoff game.
These are both talented ballclubs, with great leaders, and it will be a chance for Luck to shine on national TV, show his stuff against a fellow quarterback of the 2012 class, and to line up against a team with a premiere defense who he may one day meet again in the big dance. A great matchup for two, young, hungry teams, which should not be missed, and I think the NFL will likely put this game in primetime in order to kill two pigs with one bird and showcase these two QBs at once. I could see this as a MNF game, possibly on Sunday Night Football, but I find that hard to predict – it’s not a clear slam dunk like it is with DEN @
4.(If we’re lucky…Indianapolis Colts @ San Francisco 49ers) – There are a lot of good connections in this game and each make a great storyline for a primetime matchup. First, Jim Harbaugh was Andrew Luck’s coach and mentor at Stanford, and worked with Pep Hamilton (Colts current OC) as well. Second, Jim Harbaugh was the first true Indianapolis Colts icon and has since been inducted into the Colts’ Ring of Honor. Sure, Eric Dickerson played for the Colts in 1987, and he was one helluva player, but until that miraculous 1995 season, the Colts were never a significant presence in the
History runs further deep between these two ball clubs as Jim Mora’s famous “PLAYOFFS??!!?” rant came in the postgame of a Colts-49ers game in 2001 where the Colts lost after Peyton Manning threw four interceptions. And finally, don’t forget that the Colts just signed Ricky Jean-Francois, who did not regularly start in San Francisco, and this will be his chance to show what they are missing.
Indeed, this game has it all: history, connections, revenge (sorta) and two very strong teams headed by young QBs. It realistically should be crowned as a prime-time game, however, I think it may get the fuzzy-end of the lollipop, as the Colts-Seahawks game has the marquis “Class of 2012” matchup. Despite all the nice connections in the Niners-Colts game, if the league is stuck and can only allot three prime-time games to Indianapolis, the Indy-Seattle game will likely win the day.
Yeah, you pretty much covered it. (Though, to add some confusion the NFL did alter some home and away schedules for west coast games to accommodate travel.) The yearly seeding games being home or away, as you covered, has no affect on the yearly home and away division matchups. That’s why it seems Indy always plays at NE, for example.
The guys from ESPN can’t even keep track of these stuff and it’s their freakin’ job. Plus in your post you indicated that it was the schedule markers who decided. Just wanted to set the record straight. Carry on.
Get the NFL package from Direct TV then it doesn’t matter what the national televised game is. Last year it was $200.00, that’s like a couple meals out in NYC ;)
“Surely, this is guaranteed Sunday Night Football material, and I’m ecstatic that the NFL schedule-makers decided to schedule this game in Indianapolis as opposed to Denver.
The schedule makers had absolutely nothing to do with where this game is being played. Don’t know why fans don’t understand this simple concept -
Every team plays every other team in their division, home and away = 6 games.
Then, every team plays a every team in a division outside their conference, every four years = 4 games (+ 6 = 10 games). Rotated home and away.
Also every team plays every team in a division in their conference every three years = 4 games (+ 10 = 14 games). Rotated home and away. Hence Indy played AT Denver in 2010. Meaning, Denver plays at Indy in 2013.
The last two games of the schedule are based on order of finish and that rotates based on . two div. winners not on schedule. 2nd place plays two 2nd place teams not on schedule. And so on.
The SF game will be a Monday night. Broncos and SEA are Sunday nighters. Then the Thursday night game. I think they get 4.
Since this post is really about the machinations of the dying MSM broadcast networks which I never watch except for live sports, I will give my most cynical opinion.
I vote the game featuring Peyton's Broncos against Luck's Colts in Indy once again being the NBC NFL season Sunday night kickoff game and most watched regular season game of the year. This will be a truly a great game, a likely tearjerker, and a foreshadowing of the playoffs. NBC always needs a game that they can hype the hell out to middle American so they can show promos for the fall season's shows that will sure to offend the sensibilities of the "rubles" in fly over country.
Remember during the last "Manning Bowl" in 2010 NBC assaulted the intelligence and feelings of out of work Americans with endless commercials for the truly dreadful comedy "Outsourced", about a hapless beta-male glad to have to go to India for work when his company decides to cash out its workforce for 3rd world indentured labor. Another NBC retread of a dreadful British comedy that first bombed in the UK as "Mumbai Calling" and mightily pissed off the British working class, so the programming geniuses at NBC thought Americans would love it.
Last year NBC had the preseason prime time kickoff game with Peyton's Broncos' vs RG III's Redskins. Then the regular season Sunday night kickoff game was again Peyton's Broncos vs the Steelers. Both games got record setting ratings. And once again NBC used the opportunity to offend middle America's idea of family viewing. Virtually every commercial break had a promo for most hyped new show of the season "The New Normal" the Ryan Murphy( creator of Glee) gay couple getting married and surrogate adoption painfully unfunny dramedy and super mega bomb. "The New Normal" ended up many weeks getting 1/4 the cable ratings of Duck Dynasty on the History Channel and never beat "Rupal's Drag Race" for the gay audience. Sorry guess I am like Homer Simpson, "I like my beer cold, my TV loud and my homosexuals flaming".
This year I hear that this year NBC will be hyping the return of "Fear Factor - For Kids". Watch Girls Scouts engage in maggot eating contests while their dad's cheer them on with "Just a few more honey and the old man wins the 6"ft big screen" . Just Kidding, well anyway I think so.
God, I swear I love football, but I truly loath and despise the major networks, especially NBC. NBC's idea of family TV viewing is the equivalent to having to imagine a boot stamping on a human face - forever while Bob Kostas and Keith Olbermann lecture you on politics.
Not bad picks, though I think Colts-Texans would make more sense from a ratings perspective for a Thursday night game. That's of course assuming it's a divisional match-up since they weren't all division games last year, though a lot of them were (granted Colts-Jags was a horrible idea on paper - pretty bad in action too - last season and NFL Network still used it, so your cycle idea may be accurate; that could also have been a result of them assuming Indy would be horrible and wanting to get both teams "out of the way" at the same time, so to speak).
I guess we can only wait and see. I think 3 national games is about right, and probably a few more 4 PM games than we had last season (almost everything was at 1 PM EST last year).
@ColtsAuth_Kyle Broncos, Seattle, SF, maybe a Texans game Thursday night: AZ
@Shane Curry Ya, it's not the most sensible. Also, Time Warner monopolizes the cable in my area and I cannot get Direct TV (even if I wantedt). So, I happen to have a slingbox, and that way I can catch the games while I'm doing work at home on Sundays, etc. But the picture is not as crisp. So, as you can understand, I look forward to nat'l televised games...
@Shane Curry I am aware of how the NFL arranges their schedule. Here was my thought process:
Last year, Indy has played KC in 2010, 2012 and will again play in 2013. In 2010, they played in Indy, in 2012 they played in Arrowhead, and in 2013 they are playing in Arrowhead. So, from here I see that there is no home-away switch.
So, it's possible there is a different home-away switch depending on whether the game is scheduled due to a "division matchup" or "same-seed matchup." In 2012, KC played in Indy because they shared the same seed. In 2010, they played because in that year AFC West played AFC South. So, it is entirely possible that it works on different tracks. However, I wasn't certain and just alleged that they would "choose" where these games would take place. However, you are probably correct.
@vinylsoundsgood From your mouth to God's ears, my friend...
@Colt_Following True, I agree that I relied entirely on my "cycle" theory for the TNF game. I do agree that it's possible NFL scheduled Jax-Ind because it was expected to be a bad game and to kill two pigs with one bird (as the kids say these days). as @ryandaryk suggested via twitter (below) I think Ind-Ari would be a nice TNF game, too.
Another point - Indy will likely get 4pm games for all the West Coast games. They are playing AFC and NFC West so we may end up seeing Indy playing OAK, SDG and ARI (the latter are away games) in that late spot. Not sure that will help me too much out on the east coast...
@Payton You will not be able to stay home, brutha...