The Indianapolis Colts have announced the dates and times of their three 2021 preseason matchups against the Carolina Panthers, Minnesota Vikings, and Detroit Lions.
Before we dive in, note that the NFL has moved to a 17-game, 18-week regular season schedule in 2021 which eliminated the traditional fourth preseason game from each team's calendar.
As a result, the Colts will not face the Cincinnati Bengals in the two sides' usual preseason finale.
Although none of us know just how much (if at all) many of the Colts starters will play during the preseason, it gives us all the first opportunity to see some of the Colts' newcomers in quarterbacks Carson Wentz and Sam Ehlinger, tight end Kylen Granson, and defensive end Kwity Paye as well as guys we didn't get to see in 2020's lost preseason in quarterback Jacob Eason and wide receiver Dezmon Patmon.
Home vs. Carolina Panthers
- Sun., Aug. 15 at 1:00 pm ET (FOX)
There's been quite a bit of change for Carolina and head coach Matt Rhule heading into his second season.
For starters, the Panthers traded away former starting quarterback Teddy Bridgewater and acquired a new one in Sam Darnold. They also made significant additions in linebacker Haason Reddick in free agency, and cornerback Jaycee Horn, wide receiver Terrace Marshall Jr., and tight end Tommy Tremble in the first few rounds of the draft.
Two days after this matchup on Aug. 17, the Colts and the rest of the NFL must cut their rosters from 90 players to 85.
Away vs. Minnesota Vikings
- Sat., Aug. 21 at 8:00 pm ET (FOX)
The biggest veteran change the Vikings made since the two teams squared off last season was signing free-agent cornerback Patrick Peterson, who spent the previous decade in Arizona with the Cardinals. However, two intriguing rookie additions they made were first-round pick offensive tackle Christian Darrisaw and potential future starting quarterback Kellen Mond.
Mond, the former Texas A&M starter, may be facing off against the Colts' Ehlinger, a Big 12 foe from Texas.
Three days after this matchup, the Colts must whittle their roster from 85 players to 80.
Away vs. Detroit Lions
- Fri., Aug. 27 at 7:00 pm ET (FOX)
The Lions have a new, fiery head coach in Dan Campbell, but they also have a new quarterback in Jared Goff after trading their starter of the last 12 years in Matthew Stafford.
Unfortunately for Goff, he won't have Detroit's former top two receivers after Kenny Golladay and Marvin Jones departed in free agency. New additions in offensive tackle Penei Sewell, defensive tackle Michael Brockers, and cornerback Quinton Dunbar are worth monitoring, however.
Four days after this preseason finale, the Colts must make their final roster cuts down to 53 players.
Which matchup are you looking forward to the most? Drop your thoughts below in the comment section!