Who Are The Indianapolis Colts' Biggest Rivals?

Who Are The Indianapolis Colts Biggest Rivals

The Indianapolis Colts are a National Football League (NFL) franchise that have been in existence since 1953. They were originally the Baltimore Colts before moving to Indianapolis in 1984. A unique aspect of the Colts to look at is their history of rivalries. For most NFL teams, their rivals have been created over time through their divisional opponents, whom they play twice a year. For the Colts, however, their AFC South division is so relatively young (first being created in 2002) that their rivals come from elsewhere. The remainder of this piece will discuss those rivalries in greater detail.

New England Patriots

The biggest rival of the Indianapolis Colts is also their most common opponent over the years: the New England Patriots. Although they are no longer in the same division, the two teams have 78 regular-season meetings and five postseason meetings, for a total of 83 games in their series history. Their first meeting came in 1970, when the Patriots were still known as the Boston Patriots. The then-Baltimore Colts won 14-6 on that day, and won five of the first six meetings between the two. Overall, however, the Patriots have dominated the series, winning 53 times compared to just 30 wins for the Colts. This includes the Patriots winning four of their five playoff meetings. During one stretch from 1996-2005, the Patriots won 14 out of 16 meetings between the two.

As for their postseason history, the first three playoff matchups were between all-time great quarterbacks Tom Brady (Patriots) and Peyton Manning (Colts). The Patriots took the first two in the 2004 AFC Championship game (24-14) and the 2005 AFC Divisional Round (20-3). The Colts got their first and only postseason win against New England in the 2007 AFC Championship game 38-34. When they met up again in the 2014 Divisional Round, Peyton was gone, but Brady was still there, and the experienced quarterback led his team to a 43-22 dominating win. The following year, in the AFC Championship game, it was even worse for the Colts, as New England steamrolled to the Super Bowl with a 45-7 victory. However, the Colts managed to gain a little vengeance for this defeat, as it led to the infamous “Deflategate” scandal that led to Tom Brady being suspended for four games at the start of the 2016-2017 season. Colts’ fans are certainly hoping for better postseason success against New England and all other foes in the future.

New York Jets

The next rival for the Colts is another team not in their division currently, the New York Jets. Including their four postseason meetings, The Jets and Colts have met up 76 times since their first meeting in 1969. The Colts hold the overall edge in the series history, winning 44 games compared to the Jets 32. The Colts most dominating run in the matchup was an extended run from 1987-2000, during which the Colts won an impressive 21 out of 27 meetings. While Indianapolis holds the edge in the overall series history, New York has managed to win three of the four playoff meetings between the two. The first playoff meeting was also their first-ever meeting in Super Bowl III in 1969. The Colts were representing the NFL, and the Jets were from the AFL, as this was prior to the two leagues merging in 1971. Despite the Colts being heavily favored, the Jets stunned Baltimore and the world by defeating them 16-7.

The two would not meet again in the playoffs again until the 2003 AFC Wild Card Round, where the Colts were once again defeated by the Jets this time in a rout 41-0. In the 2010 AFC Championship game, the Colts finally got their first postseason win against the Jets, knocking them out by a score of 30-17. In the following year’s Wild Card Round, the Jets got their revenge, however, and edged the Colts out by a score of 17-16. With both teams struggling the last few years, we shall see when the next playoff chapter between these two historic foes is written.

Buffalo Bills

The final major rival of the Colts is once again an AFC East opponent, the Buffalo Bills. This is by far the most evenly-matched opponent of the three for the Colts’ franchise. In their 72 total meetings, the Bills hold a slight edge with 38 wins to the Colts 33, along with one tie in their first-ever meeting in 1970. After that tie, the Colts won the next five meetings between the two, before Buffalo got their first win in the series in 1973 and proceeded to win five in a row themselves. Each time had their run of success against the other after that, with the Bills holding the overall lead thanks in large part due to a stretch from 1989-1994 where they won eight out of nine meetings. Their first-ever and only postseason meeting came in 2021 in the Wild Card Round, which the heavily-favored Bills hung on to win by a final score of 27-24. It remains to be seen when the next consequential matchup will take place between these two rivals.


Who is the biggest rival of the Indianapolis Colts?

The number-one rival for the Colts are the New England Patriots when taking both historical longevity and postseason meetings into account. The two teams have met 83 times over the years, including five meetings in the playoffs. The Patriots hold the edge with 53 wins to the Colts 30, including four of the five playoff meetings.