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.
Breakdowns of the key matchups on offense, defense, and special teams.
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
New York Jets
where: The Meadowlands
7 - 5
against the resident football nerd picking the results of each week's NFL games