Win and a Prayer
Colts need a win
and help to reach the post season
written by Stephen Conway
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.
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!
Breakdowns of the key matchups on offense, defense, and special teams.
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
where: RCA Dome
9 - 6
against the resident football nerd picking the results of each week's NFL games