Some folks need to be ashamed of themselves. The amount of talk I have heard from fans and even some analysts that actually think the Colts should not try real hard on Sunday so they can stand a better chance of locking up the No 1 pick in the draft is ridiculous! You play the game to win--always! What are we? The freaking 'Black Sox' of the NFL?
Yes, I know I am comparing a World Series scandal to a football game between two teams with more holes than a block of swiss cheese. If you have any respect for the game and/or the guys that will take the field on Sunday you'll chastise yourself for even thinking that the Colts should lose.
Go on. Chastise away.
Okay. Now with that whole mess out of the way we can move on to the business at hand. Can the Colts win their third game in a row?
Not only do I think they can, I believe I can say that they will and I won't have to stretch the truth all that much!
A few weeks ago when these guys met the Jacksonville Jaguars controlled the game pretty well en route to a 17-3 win. Things are a little different for both teams now. Jacksonville is working with an interim coach and a staff that doesn't know if the new owner plans on keeping any of them once this season ends.
While there is plenty of reason for the Jaguars to be floundering at this time of year, they aren't doing half bad. The defense is ranked No 5 in the league still. Offensively they have done better in recent weeks when they finally started having Blaine Gabbert pass the ball to Maurice Jones-Drew more. MJD is shaping up to be the season rushing champ as well.
On the Colts side of the game the biggest change personnel-wise of course is Dan Orlovsky. If you just look at his stats (minus the New England game), you'd think that these guys must still suck pretty bad. However, they have managed to gain something else these last couple weeks; something vital to the efforts of every athlete in every sport at every competitive level in creation:
These guys finally believe they can win. What makes it even crazier is that they are playing like it for a complete game now.
The offense is still sputtering along, but Orlovsky and his roommate, Donald Brown, have done enough to keep the offense on the field more (giving the defense some much-needed rest) not to mention actually scoring.
These last two games are proof that a little confidence can go along way. Against Houston they may have not faced the offensive juggernaut that the Texans have been, but there was nothing wrong with their defense. That fourth quarter drive against the No 2 defense in the country to win the game was a thing of beauty.
Jacksonville's defense is nowhere near as good as Houston's. I know it; you know it; the Colts know it. When they go into Sunday's game Dan and Donald are not going to be sweating the No 5 defense in the league; they are going to be thinking about how they are going to celebrate their third straight win.
On defense, Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis are going to have a field day putting pressure on Gabbert. Pat Angerer (coolest football name ever) is going to get to show why he should have been voted into the Pro Bowl as well.
And it all comes from the confidence they have developed over the last couple weeks and the pride that they have as hard-working professionals.
For much of this season I've had to get a little creative to justify some scenarios in which the Colts could actually beat someone. This week is different. These guys don't suck, but the Jaguars--well...