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Indianapolis Colts' schedule 2020: Daunting midseason stretch

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The Colts' biggest can't-miss games on the 2020 schedule (1:06)

Mike Wells highlights a brutal seven-game stretch for the Colts which includes games against the Ravens and Packers. (1:06)

The Indianapolis Colts' schedule for 2020 was released Thursday.

The regular season kicks off with the Houston Texans visiting the Kansas City Chiefs on Thursday, Sept. 10 (8:20 p.m. ET, NBC). The opening doubleheader for Monday Night Football will feature the Pittsburgh Steelers at the New York Giants (7:10 p.m. ET, ESPN) and the Tennessee Titans at the Denver Broncos (10:20 p.m. ET) on Monday, Sept. 14.

Check out the full week-by-week schedule here. Here’s what is in store for the Colts:

Game-by-game prediction

Colts reporter Mike Wells is predicting a 10-6 finish:

Sept. 13: at Jacksonville Jaguars, Win

Sept. 20: vs. Minnesota Vikings, Win

Sept. 27: vs. New York Jets, Win

Oct. 4: at Chicago Bears, Win

Oct. 11: at Cleveland Browns, Win

Oct. 18: vs. Cincinnati Bengals, Win

Oct. 25: Bye

Nov. 1: at Detroit Lions, Win

Nov. 8: vs. Baltimore Ravens, Loss

Nov. 12: at Tennessee Titans, Loss

Nov. 22: vs. Green Bay Packers, Loss

Nov. 29: vs. Tennessee Titans, Win

Dec. 6: at Houston Texans, Loss

Dec. 13: at Las Vegas Raiders, Loss

Dec. 20: vs. Houston Texans, Win

Dec. 27: at Pittsburgh Steelers, Loss

Jan. 3: vs. Jacksonville Jaguars, Win

Strength of schedule: .502 (16th hardest in NFL)

Breakdown

Philip Rivers, who is in his first season as the starting quarterback for the Colts after 16 years with the Chargers, will have an opportunity to get his new team off to a strong start. Six of the Colts' first seven games are against teams that missed the playoffs last season. Minnesota -- at home -- is the only team that made the postseason that the Colts will face in that span. Getting off to a quick start will be key for the Colts because there's a seven-week stretch that starts in November and carries over to December in which they face six teams that made the playoffs last season and could be in the hunt for a postseason spot this year. Four of those games are against AFC South counterparts Houston and Tennessee, with the other two being versus 2019 NFL MVP Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens and Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers.

The shutout continues

And the streak continues for the Colts when it comes to hosting a Sunday or Monday night prime-time game. They haven't had a home prime-time game on either of those nights since hosting New England on Oct. 18, 2015. Here's a friendly reminder about what happened in that game, if you need a refresher. Let's just say that wasn't one of Chuck Pagano's finest moments during his six years as head coach. If the Colts were going to have a Sunday or Monday night home game, Baltimore or Green Bay would have been ideal. Maybe next year.

Obstacle to open season

The Colts face triple obstacles to open the season. They haven't won a Week 1 game since beating Oakland to open the 2013 season; they haven't won a road opener since 2006; and they haven't won in Jacksonville/London since the 2014 season, when they reached the AFC Championship Game. Beating the Jaguars on their home field has been nearly impossible in that stretch. Jacksonville has outscored the Colts 155-73 during its current five-game home streak against them. This could be the year that the Colts end the skid because the Jaguars are rebuilding, trying to find a new identity.