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The Horseshoe

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A Win and a Prayer
Colts need a win and help to reach the post season
written by Stephen Conway

After starting 7-3, the Colts lost 3 consecutive games, placing their Super Bowl aspirations on very thin ice. When the Colts could have easily packed it in under the scrutiny and criticism of the media both national and local, the team hunkered down and carved itself a small piece of playoff hope by winning two games versus difficult division opponents: Buffalo and Miami. 

The Colts' defense showed pride and determination, clamping down on the Dolphins defense, allowing the offense to grind precious seconds off the clock with the short passing and ground control game.  A timely interception by Jeff Burris late in the fourth quarter (his second in two weeks) sealed the crucial victory.

With one week left in the season, the Colts now face the daunting task of defeating the Minnesota Vikings in order to even have a chance of playing again this year. Here's the playoff picture in a nutshell:

The Colts MUST win. They lose, they go home.

If the Jets lose, the Colts are in as a Wild Card
If the Dolphins lose, the Colts are in as a Wild Card

If both Jets and Dolphins lose, the Colts win the AFC East.
If Dolphins and Jets win, the Colts are out.

Looking at the matchups, Miami plays New England in New England and the Jets play Baltimore in Baltimore. The Jets face a tall order in defeating the Ravens record breaking defense on their own turf, especially after struggling against the lackluster Detroit Lions last week. The Dolphins would seem to be a heavy favorite against the Pats, but in the cold and wind of Boston, anything could happen.

Put simply, if the Colts can manage a win on Christmas Eve, they may have a nice present under the tree courtesy of Baltimore or New England! The Colts finally look like the confident and talented bunch we know they can be. Pundits can talk about a team backing into the playoffs not having any momentum, but in the Colts' case I would heartily disagree. If the enter the playoffs on a three game winning streak in must win situations each week, I think they may well have the edge over a team who has coasted into the post-season. But first things first, they have to beat the Vikings.

As this may be the last issue of the Horseshoe for the year, I'd like to say thanks to you, my intrepid readers. I have a lot of fun putting this together each week and I hope you have as much fun reading it. A special thanks to my Dad, Jim Conway, who has competed valiantly against me, picking the winners of each weeks' slate of games. You didn't unseat me as the reigning Football Nerd, but you stayed above .500! At least you're doing better than flipping a coin! Thanks again everyone and if this is the end of the season, tune in week one next year for The Horseshoe: Year Three!

NOTE: The matchup section features a new format this week: haiku. That's right, you heard me. Haiku is a  short Japanese poetry form comprised of 17 syllables in three lines (5-7-5). Each section will contain at least one haiku (hopefully more as time allows) analyzing the upcoming game for each aspect of the team. Silly? Yes. Fun? I sure hope so!

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

Game Prediction
The Vikings are in many ways a mirror image of the Colts: impressive offense and suspect defense. The difference? The Vikings defense has stepped up and kept games close enough that their offense has generally been within striking distance throughout. They possess so many play makers on offense (WR Randy Moss, RB Robert Smith, QB Daunte Culpepper, and the touchdown machine, WR Cris Carter), the score of this game could easily be 63-56! The good news for the Colts at this point in the week is that second year sensation QB Daunte Culpepper may not play this week due to a high ankle sprain. He was in a cast as of Tuesday. Since the Vikes are assured of a playoff spot, they may not risk Culpepper if he is not 100%. That could be GREAT news for the boys in blue. It puts added pressure on the Vikings to establish the running game. Of course the Colts are giving up an average of 124 yards on the ground, so we don't really look forward to a heavy dose of Robert Smith either.

Football is a game of momentum and confidence as well as athletic prowess. The Colts are just now reaching their peak performances and the Vikings have looked very mortal the last two weeks. At home with a playoff spot on the line, the mental edge goes to the Colts. They have finally found a balanced attack on both sides of the ball. I look for them to be focused and determined to finish the season strong with a win. Let's hope the stars align and we get a chance to play in the big show.

Score: Colts 31  Vikings  28

 

Next Opponent
Minnesota Vikings
12/24/2000

when: 4:15PM
where: RCA Dome
TV: FOX

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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
Issue #18
Issue #19
Issue #20

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 L   17-27
12/11 BUFF W  44-20
12/17 at MIAMI W  20-13
12/24 MINN
 

 

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Updated:
04/19/06

1999, 2000