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Indianapolis Colts: Forecasting the 2013 Season

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Indianapolis Colts: Forecasting the 2013 Season
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Robert Mathis leads the Indianapolis Colts' defense into the 2013 season.

COMMENTARY | The NFL regular season is finally here, and the games finally count. In 2013, the Indianapolis Colts look to build off last season's 11-5 finish and playoff loss to the Baltimore Ravens.

Can they do it?

Let's take a look:

Week 1, Sept. 8: Oakland Raiders at Indianapolis Colts: The Colts lost only once at home last year. The Raiders won only once on the road. Terrelle Pryor? Matt Flynn? It won't matter. This is going to be one of those Georgia Tech-Elon kind of games where you just want to avert your eyes and send sympathy cards to Raiders fans.

Record: 1-0.

Week 2, Sept. 15: Miami Dolphins at Indianapolis Colts: Andrew Luck and Ryan Tannehill engage in a battle of second-year quarterbacks, but Luck has more weapons at his disposal than does Tannehill. The Colts shut down Mike Wallace and stay unbeaten.

Record: 2-0.

Week 3, Sept. 22: Indianapolis Colts at San Francisco 49ers: The honeymoon is over. Jim Harbaugh shows no mercy on the team he used to quarterback, and Colin Kaepernick and company make this West Coast trip one to forget.

Record: 2-1.

Week 4, Sept. 29: Indianapolis Colts at Jacksonville Jaguars: The Jaguars always play the Colts tough, regardless of either team's record at the time. Still, the Jags have no passing game to take the pressure off Maurice Jones-Drew, so if the Colts can hold MJD under 177 yards rushing this time, they should escape with a victory.

Record: 3-1.

Week 5, Oct. 6: Seattle Seahawks at Indianapolis Colts: Indy faces the second serious Super Bowl contender from the NFC in three weeks and will be staring down the barrel of Russell Wilson, Marshawn Lynch and a suffocating Seahawks defense. Seattle traditionally plays poorly east of the Mississippi River, but the 'Hawks are serious Super Bowl contenders this year for a reason.

Record: 3-2.

Week 6, Oct. 14: Indianapolis Colts at San Diego Chargers: The Colts head out West for some "Monday Night Football" and continue to have San Diego's number. The sun has set on Philip Rivers and Antonio Gates. It'll be weird seeing Dwight Freeney in a Bolts uniform, though.

Record: 4-2.

Week 7, Oct. 20: Denver Broncos at Indianapolis Colts: Nah, tickets for this game won't be hard to come by. It's just some old Colts quarterback named Peyton Manning coming back to town for the first time. Maybe you've heard of him? The old guy returns to Indy and teaches the new kid on the block some things about leading an offense. The Broncos win the battle of the horses with ease.

Record: 4-3.

Week 9, Nov. 3: Indianapolis Colts at Houston Texans: Matt Schaub and Andre Johnson are aging, and Arian Foster is banged up. But the Houston defense is too much for the Colts at home.

Record: 4-4.

Week 10, Nov. 10: St. Louis Rams at Indianapolis Colts: Robert Mathis and the Colts' defense put pressure on Sam Bradford, and a rattled Bradford doesn't play well. The St. Louis running game just isn't the same without Steven Jackson. The Colts win comfortably.

Record: 5-4.

Week 11, Nov. 17: Indianapolis Colts at Tennessee Titans: Jake Locker strikes fear in exactly no one, and Chris Johnson is a has-been. There's no challenge here. Colts cruise on a Thursday night.

Record: 6-4.

Week 12, Nov. 24: Indianapolis Colts at Arizona Cardinals: It'll be nice to see Bruce Arians again. Of course, we know all his tricks, and he's now stuck with Carson Palmer at quarterback and Rashard Mendenhall at running back down there in the desert. So Arians won't enjoy the reunion as much as the Colts will.

Record: 7-4.

Week 13, Dec. 1: Tennessee Titans at Indianapolis Colts: The second game in three weeks between these two division opponents goes the same way as the first one. Locker hasn't gotten any better since mid-November.

Record: 8-4.

Week 14, Dec. 8: Indianapolis Colts at Cincinnati Bengals: Our neighbors to the east are up-and-coming, just like the Colts, and with Andy Dalton, A.J. Green and Giovani Bernard, this won't be one of those meaningless games that has plagued this "rivalry" in the past (as I've written before). This will be a tough one, and the Bengals' defense will be the difference. Cincinnati wins in a nail-biter.

Record: 8-5.

Week 15, Dec. 15: Houston Texans at Indianapolis Colts: The Texans come to town to provide the Colts one final serious challenge in the regular season. This time, the home fans help propel the Colts to victory and stay within arm's reach of the Texans for the AFC South title.

Record: 9-5.

Week 16, Dec. 22: Indianapolis Colts at Kansas City Chiefs: I remember a time growing up when the Chiefs were consistently a playoff team. That seems like so long ago.

Record: 10-5.

Week 17, Dec. 29: Jacksonville Jaguars at Indianapolis Colts: The only way the Colts lose this game is if they've already clinched the No. 1 playoff seed in the AFC, they bench Andrew Luck, and they acquire Curtis Painter from the New York Giants to start this game.

Record: 11-5.

The author is a resident of central Indiana and a long-time follower of the Colts.

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