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The Journal Gazette

Friday, April 21, 2017 1:00 am

Colts schedule on light side

Average mark of .424 as NFL schedule released

Staff, news services

The Colts have one of the easist schedules in 2017, as their opponents this year had an average winning percentage of .424 percent in 2016, as the NFL released the season schedule Thursday.

The Colts open the season Sept. 10 at the Los Angeles Rams before returning to Lucas Oil Stadium for two games, beginning with the home opener against Arizona on Sept. 17 followed by Cleveland on Sept. 24.

Their first division game is a Monday night game, Oct. 16 at Tennessee. That begins a stretch of three division games out of four, with a game at Cincinnati thrown in on Oct. 29. The other division games are against Jacksonville on Oct. 22 and at Houston on Nov. 5.

The bye week comes on Nov. 29, after 10 games. When the Colts return, they play host to Tennessee on Nov. 26 and at Jacksonville on Dec. 3.

The Colts play two other prime-time games, Sunday night Oct. 1 at Seattle and a Thursday night game at home against Denver on Dec. 14. They finish the season at home against Houston on New Year's Eve.

The New England Patriots will kick off the NFL season on Sept. 7 by playing host to the Kansas City Chiefs.

New England earned that honor with its record comeback to beat Atlanta in the Super Bowl. Its opening opponent in a Thursday night game won the AFC West last season.

The Falcons visit Chicago in their first game.

The rest of the opening weekend will feature what seems like a yearly occurrence, with Dallas playing host to the New York Giants on Sunday night. They finished 1-2 in the NFC East in 2016.

On Monday night, New Orleans is at Minnesota, followed by the Chargers, in their first game representing Los Angeles since 1960, at Denver.

Five games will be held abroad, beginning with Baltimore vs. Jacksonville in London on Sept. 24. The next week, Miami hosts New Orleans. In Week 7, the Rams host the Cardinals, followed the next week by Minnesota vs. Cleveland.

New England is the visitor against Oakland at Mexico City on Nov. 19.

Thanksgiving's traditional games will have Minnesota at Detroit and the Chargers at Dallas. In prime time, Washington will be home for the New York Giants.

Christmas weekend will be busy. Two Saturday matches have Indianapolis at Baltimore in late afternoon, Minnesota at Green Bay at night on Dec. 23. Most of the rest of the schedule will be played on Dec. 24, with no night game. On Christmas Day, Pittsburgh will go to Houston in a late-afternoon matchup, followed by Oakland at Philadelphia.

The season ends when 2017 does, on Dec. 31.

The Falcons are scheduled to open their new stadium in an NFC championship rematch with Green Bay on Sunday night in Week 2. Atlanta has five prime-time games, the same number as New England. The Super Bowl rematch comes Sunday night, Oct. 22.

StubHub Center, the new and temporary home of the Chargers, will have its first regular-season contest in Week 2 when Miami visits.