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Playoffs Begin This Week
The Colts must win out to insure a post season appearance.
written by Stephen Conway

What a difference a week makes. Even after a dreadful performance against the Packers, a win against the Miami Dolphins could have placed the Colts in a tie for first in the AFC East. Lose to the Dolphins and the road to the playoffs becomes extremely difficult. With 2:56 left to go and the offense marching toward a field goal if not a touchdown, it looked like the Colts would share the lead. One play later, the game began to slip away. QB Peyton Manning threw a pass behind WR Jerome Pathon and into the diving arms of Dolphin Brock Marion. 9 plays and 86 yards later, Miami took a 17-14 lead and hung on for the win.

On the whole, the team played with greater intensity and urgency throughout most of the game. But most is the operative word in that sentence. The Colts are still struggling to step up and make plays when they count the most. The message to Colt's opponents seems to be: the door for a comeback is always open. Whether the defense plays soft and allows teams to jump out to early leads or the offense turns the ball over, the result has been the same: inconsistency in all phases of the game.

The good news is these errors would seem to be correctable. Athletically, the Colts have many very talented players. But the mental aspect of the game is equally important. Mentally the team has seemed unfocused and out of sorts far too often. Responsibility for this kind of preparation should be shared equally by players and coaches alike. The coaches should insure that the players are able to adapt quickly to the formations and schemes presented by the opponent. In the game, the players must stay focused and play each down as if the game depended on it. There is no room for confusion or half hearted effort. 

Put simply, the Colts have dug themselves a hole. They have the talent to climb out of it, but they must prove it on the field. It will take at least 3 if not 4 wins to make the playoffs at this point. But rather than worry about the playoff possibilities, let us hope that the Colts are zeroed in on one and only one thing: defeating the New York Jets. 

Matchups
Breakdowns of the key matchups on offense, defense, and special teams.

Game Prediction
The Colts have been a lackluster team on the road of late. Conventional wisdom would say that with the playoffs on the line, the team will respond with a stand out performance. The Jets need the win almost as desperately as the Colts, though, for a Colt win would give them a season sweep and a decisive advantage in the wild card playoff chase. The offense must hit on all cylinders for the Colts to have a realistic chance. Put too much pressure on the Colt defense and it will break instead of bend. I would like nothing more than to be wrong, but I have nightmares of Curtis Martin running wild through our secondary. Since my optimism has gone unrewarded in the last few predictions, I hope a bit of reverse psychology works this time!

Score: Colts 17 Jets 21

 

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New York Jets
12/3/2000

when: 1:00
where: The Meadowlands
TV: CBS

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Archive:

1999 Season
Issue #1
Issue #2
Issue #3

Issue #4
Issue #5

2000 Schedule
Issue #6

Issue #7
Issue #8
Issue #9
Issue #10
Issue #11

Issue #12
Issue #13
Issue #14
Issue #15
Issue #16
Issue #17

9/03 at KC

W  27-14

9/10 OAK

L   31-38

9/17 BYE  
9/25 JAX

W  43-14

10/1 at Buff W  18-16
10/8 at NE L   16-24
10/15 at SEA W  37-24
10/22 NE W  30-23
10/29 DET W  30-18
11/05 at CHI L   24-27
11/12 NYJ W  23-15
11/19 at GB L   24-26
11/26 MIAMI L   14-17
12/03 at NYJ
12/11 BUFF
12/17 at MIAMI
12/24 MINN
 

 

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Updated:
04/19/06

1999, 2000