Carson Wentz's debut as an AFC quarterback with the Indianapolis Colts will come against one of the former Eagles' signal-caller's NFC nemeses, the Seattle Seahawks, to open the 2021 NFL season on Sunday, Sept. 12. Wentz was 0-4 vs. Seattle while with Philadelphia, but the Colts have opened as 2.5-point favorites on the NFL odds. It's the first time Indy will open a season at home since 2018. Another highlight of the schedule: Indy at Arizona on Christmas, the first time the Colts will ever play on the holiday. They have an Over/Under total of 10.0 wins on the season via William Hill Sportsbook.
Wentz was an MVP candidate in 2017 before suffering a season-ending injury. The Eagles would go on to win their first and only Super Bowl that season behind backup Nick Foles. Wentz was still quite good with Philadelphia the next two years but slipped massively in 2020, which made him expendable. The Colts gave up a 2021 third-round draft pick and a conditional 2022 second-round pick to reunite Wentz with head coach Frank Reich, the former Eagles offensive coordinator.
Indianapolis has a Super Bowl-caliber roster if Wentz can return to pre-2020 form. The Colts were 11-5 last year under the since-retired Philip Rivers, losing a close game in Buffalo in the wild-card round. Were the Colts all that good, though? Nine of Indy's 11 wins came against teams with records at or below .500. Reich did lose his offensive coordinator from last year, Nick Sirianni, who, ironically is the new Eagles head coach.
In free agency, the Colts weren't super-active, largely focusing on re-signing their own players such as wideout TY Hilton, running back Marlon Mack, cornerback Xavier Rhodes and others. Long-time starting left tackle Anthony Castonzo retired – he started all 144 regular season games and eight postseason games in which he appeared.
That position looked like a gaping hole entering the 2021 draft, yet GM Chris Ballard didn't take an offensive lineman despite quality players such as Virginia Tech's Christian Darrisaw, Oklahoma State's Teven Jenkins and Texas' Samuel Cosmi still on the board at Indy's No. 21 overall pick in the first round. Ballard instead took Michigan pass-rusher Kwity Paye.
However, the Colts may have solved their left tackle issues by signing former No. 1 overall pick Eric Fisher. In his career with Kansas City, Fisher missed 14 regular season games with the Chiefs and they went 7-7 in those games. With him, they were 82-30. Fisher tore his Achilles in the AFC Championship Game, missed the Super Bowl and was released by the Chiefs in March. He may not be ready for the start of 2021.
The Colts' 2021 schedule is ranked as the 23rd-toughest in the league as their 17 opponents – hosting the Bucs is the 17th game -- were a combined 130-142-0 last season.
Indianapolis Colts trends/William Hill Sportsbook odds
- 2020 record: 11-5 (8-8 against the spread, 9-7 Over/Under)
- 2021 strength of schedule rank: 23rd (opponents' combined winning percentage of .478)
- 2021 Over/Under win total: 10.0
- SportsLine Projection Model forecasted wins: 10.3
- Odds to win Super Bowl 56: +2500
- To win AFC: +1300
- To win AFC South: +100
- To make playoffs: Yes -210, no +175
- NFL MVP odds: Carson Wentz +4000
Indianapolis Colts Schedule
Week 1 vs. Seattle Seahawks: Colts have won past two at home in the series (2013 & 2009)
Week 2 vs. Los Angeles Rams: Clubs don't play often but the Over has hit in five straight
Week 3 at Tennessee Titans: Indy is 3-0 SU & ATS in past three in Nashville after 34-17 rout last year
Week 4 at Miami Dolphins: Under has hit in past three in series (most recently in 2019)
Week 5 at Baltimore Ravens (MNF): Baltimore was +1 at Indianapolis last year and won 24-10
Week 6 vs. Houston Texans: Colts are 3-1 SU (loss in 2018) & 2-2 ATS in past four meetings at home
Week 7 at San Francisco 49ers: San Francisco has dropped past four in series, last in 2017
Week 8 vs. Tennessee Titans: Tennessee has won its past two in Indianapolis handily
Week 9 vs. New York Jets (TNF): New York was +11.5 at Indy last year and got throttled 36-7
Week 10 vs. Jacksonville Jaguars: Indy's lone ATS win in past six home meetings was in 2019
Week 11 at Buffalo Bills: Buffalo is 0-2 ATS in past two meetings, including the playoff win last season
Week 12 vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Added 17th opponent; Bucs (pre-Tom Brady) beat visiting Colts 38-35 in 2019
Week 13 at Houston Texans: Houston hasn't won a home game in series ATS since 2012
Week 14 BYE
Week 15 vs. New England Patriots: Including playoffs, the Pats have won past eight in the series
Week 16 at Arizona Cardinals: Teams have split past eight meetings ATS, with last meeting in 2017
Week 17 vs. Las Vegas Raiders: Silver & Black were +2.5 last year at home and blown out 44-27 by Indy
Week 18 at Jacksonville Jaguars: Somehow, Colts are 0-6 SU & ATS in past six at Jacksonville
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