Looking ahead, game-by-game, at Colts season

Predicting the Colts' regular season before it starts, expect plenty of points and entertaining games in another push to the playoffs.

Let’s take a look into the NFL crystal ball and fast forward through the Indianapolis Colts’ regular season, which begins Sunday with an opener at the Buffalo Bills.

Colts at Buffalo — Quarterback Andrew Luck is besieged early and often as Bills head coach Rex Ryan has his defense blitzing to force underneath throws. Meanwhile, Bills quarterback Tyrod Taylor breaks containment to give the Bills an early lead. But Luck eventually finds his top targets for a convincing road victory. Colts 34, Bills 24.

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Jets at Colts — The home opener on Monday Night Football provides the ideal stage for retired center Jeff Saturday to be inducted into the Colts’ Ring of Honor. And the as much as the Jets try to emulate the Bills’ effective blitzing, running back Frank Gore thrives in the open running lanes and a Colts defense shuts down the visitors. Colts 33, Jets 16.

Colts at Titans — The Colts extend their AFC South Division winning streak to a league-best 14 games as the defense forces Titans rookie quarterback Marcus Mariota into a couple of turnovers and an efficient offense clicks early to put this one away. Colts 30, Titans 17.

Jaguars at Colts — Another AFC South game is no contest as Luck throws four touchdown passes and Gore runs for two more scores while the Colts defense racks up four sacks to bump the division winning streak to 15 games. Colts 45, Jaguars 13.

Colts at Texans — A short week is welcomed by Colts wide receiver Andre Johnson, who doesn’t prefer to make too much out of his return to the Lone Star State. He catches a touchdown pass, but more importantly, the Colts effectively double team J.J. Watt to keep him from dominating the game. Colts 27, Texans 20.

Patriots at Colts — The long-awaited rematch between AFC rivals provides plenty of primetime drama as Tom Brady and Luck duel in an offensive shootout. After four previous meetings were Colts double-digit losses, this one is finally close. But the defending Super Bowl champions still pull it out. Patriots 34, Colts 31.

Saints at Colts — Perhaps it’s just the hangover from playing the Patriots in such an anticipated matchup the previous week, but the Colts struggle to get to Saints quarterback Drew Brees, who duplicates his past success with his quick passing attack. The Colts finally get straightened out and rally late to win. Colts 30, Saints 27.

Colts at Panthers — Another Monday Night Football game provides the Colts the chance to play their most complete game of the season. Panthers quarterback Cam Newton struggles against the Colts’ ferocious blitz while Luck and the offense roll. Colts 38, Panthers 17.

Broncos at Colts — Peyton Manning's second return to Indianapolis is again must-see TV, but just like the first time he came back to Lucas Oil Stadium, the Colts have too much offensive firepower. Luck shakes off a couple of early sacks to find T.Y. Hilton for a pair of clutch touchdown passes. Colts 31, Broncos 27.

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Colts at Falcons — Refreshed from the bye week, the Colts are a bit too relaxed and fall behind early against Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan, who throws a couple of first-half TD passes. Once again, the comeback Colts rally as Gore has his best game since joining his new team. But the Falcons pull off the upset with a last-second field goal. Falcons 26, Colts 23.

Buccaneers at Colts — There’s nothing worse than a rookie quarterback hounded by a relentless pass rush. The Colts’ defense forces Bucs passer Jameis Winston into repeated mistakes, which leads to short fields and easy scoring drives. Colts 34, Bucs 10.

Colts at Steelers — What is it about the Steelers that continually brings out the worst in the Colts? Ben Roethlisberger sidesteps the blitz pressure to throw three TD passes and the visitors once again play catch-up on the road to no avail. Steelers 38, Colts 27.

Colts at Jaguars — As questions mount about the Colts’ defense, the Jaguars show up on the schedule at an ideal time to provide a ripe opponent for a team looking to bounce back from a loss. It takes a quarter, but the Colts start clicking on both sides of the ball. Colts 38, Jaguars 17.

Texans at Colts — The push for the AFC’s No. 1 playoff seed has the home team building off its previous week’s performance with a rout of Texans, who get a great game from running back Arian Foster, but it’s not nearly enough. Colts 30, Texans 13.

Colts at Dolphins — While the warmer weather is a welcome change for December, the Colts fall behind early and the defense takes another step back. Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill converts a couple of Colts turnovers into short-field TD drives. The Colts rally to force overtime, but the Dolphins prevail with a game-ending field goal. Dolphins 27, Colts 24, OT.

Titans at Colts — A playoff spot is secure, but the Colts need this one to lock down the AFC’s No. 2 seed. And they play like it’s an all-important game to complete their third consecutive sweep of AFC South foes. Colts 36, Titans 16.

Phillip B. Wilson also can be found on Facebook and Google+.


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