2015 DRAFT GUIDE
Indianapolis ready to face Texans' big test

    2012-12-12 16:47

(Eds: Updates with quotes, details. With AP Photos.)
By MICHAEL MAROT
AP Sports Writer

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - Things are getting pretty simple in Indianapolis.

Win one more game and the Colts are in the playoffs. Win the next two and Bruce Arians sets the NFL record for wins by an interim head coach. Win all three and they're AFC South champs with a home playoff game.

The first hurdle is a big one: Sunday's game is at Houston.

``I think they know what's on the line and they've got a lot of pride. They were going to play anyway, whether they won or lost (Monday night),'' Arians said Wednesday, referring to the Texans. ``This is a pretty good rivalry and we're going to get everything they've got and their crowd and everybody else.''

Especially after the Texans disastrous performance at New England.

Most NFL observers expected the Texans (11-2) to be in this position in mid-December, trying to wrap up a second straight division crown and fine-tuning things for a postseason run.

But few, if any, expected the rebuilt Colts (9-4) to be Houston's nearest challenger in the AFC South, especially after a tumultuous offseason.

Team owner Jim Irsay, new general manager Ryan Grigson and new coach Chuck Pagano decided to start fresh in March, releasing four-time MVP Peyton Manning, cutting a handful of other popular longtime veterans and letting a few others leave via free agency. By the time Indy got to training camp with its hotshot rookie quarterback, Andrew Luck, the Colts were ranked dead last in the power rankings.

But after starting 1-2 and finding out Pagano was taking an indefinite leave after being diagnosed with leukemia, things changed.

Indy is 9-4 overall and 8-2 under Arians, winning three of five road games and seven of their last eight. They have a league-high eight wins in one-possession games, and Luck already owns NFL rookie records for most 300-yard games (six), most fourth-quarter comebacks (six) and most wins by the No. 1 overall choice since the AFL-NFL merger in 1970. He needs 260 yards passing Sunday to break the league's single-season rookie record, trailing only Cam Newton's 4,051 yards from 2011.

Still, many wonder how good these Colts really are.

Indy's three road wins have come against Tennessee, Jacksonville and Detroit - teams that are a combined 10-29. The Colts' most impressive win came Oct. 7 when Luck rallied the Colts for a stunning 30-27 victory over Green Bay - the first game after Pagano's diagnosis. The Colts have only one other win over a team with a winning record and it came long ago, in Week 2 against Minnesota (7-6).

So the head-to-head showdown between Luck and the Texans' hard-charging defense could be a solid measuring stick for the NFL's most surprising team.

``For us, a chance to solidify a playoff spot,'' Luck said. ``Obviously the division is not sown up completely from what I understand and it's against, from our perspective, one of the premier teams in the AFC, the Houston Texans. We are going to have to bring our `A' game.''

One potentially major problem: The Colts offense might not be close to full speed.

On Tuesday, they put two running backs, starter Donald Brown (high ankle sprain) and fourth-stringer Robert Hughes (knee), on season-ending injured reserve. Third-stringer Delone Carter has been hobbled by an ankle injury, too, so Indy re-signed veteran Mewelde Moore and rookie Deji Karim, who were both cut by the Colts earlier this season.

That's not all.

Arians could not say Wednesday whether offensive linemen right tackle Winston Justice (biceps), left guard Joe Reitz (head) or center Samson Satele (ankle) would play Sunday, either. Justice and Satele did not finish last weekend's game against Tennessee and did not practice Wednesday. Reitz missed his eighth start of the season last weekend, but was fine on Wednesday.

Facing an angry Houston squad, stinging from the 42-14 rout by the Patriots, with a makeshift offensive line certainly isn't the ideal way to go into such a high-stakes game.

A victory would allow the Texans to take another step toward clinching the AFC's top seed and would help reassert their image as a Super Bowl favorite.

For Indy, the game is just as important. It's an opportunity for the Colts to show the football world they can go toe-to-toe with the league's top teams, home or away, with or without injuries and despite the resume that they deserve to be considered one of the league's best teams.

``This game is like no other,'' defensive end Cory Redding said. ``The Texans are a great opponent. These guys have great weapons on both sides of the ball. They've been doing some unbelievable things this year, and we've got our hands full. Like you said, the Colts used to own this division for many years, so it's time to go ahead and get that thing back.''

---

Online: http://pro32.ap.org/poll and http://twitter.com/AP-NFL

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

Travis KelceSep 1 03:03p

Kansas City Chiefs TE Travis Kelce (ankle) would be able to play if the Chiefs had a game Tuesday, Sept. 1, according to head coach Andy Reid. Kelce is recovering from an ankle sprain.

Jarrett BoykinSep 1 03:03p

Carolina Panthers WRs Jarrett Boykin and De'Andre Presley were waived Tuesday, Sept. 1.

Jace AmaroSep 1 01:33p

New York Jets TE Jace Amaro (shoulder) will have season-ending shoulder surgery and will be placed on the Reserve/Injured list.

Erik LorigSep 1 12:33p

New Orleans Saints FB Erik Lorig was cut Tuesday, Sept. 1.

Nathan PalmerSep 1 11:53a

Denver Broncos WR Nathan Palmer was waived Tuesday, Sept. 1.

Devonta FreemanSep 1 11:32a

Atlanta Falcons RB Devonta Freeman was the most active in practice Monday, Aug. 31, that he was been since a hamstring injury Aug. 6. It's unclear whether he'll play [ More ]

Jarrett BoykinSep 1 10:33a

Carolina Panthers WR Jarrett Boykin was released Tuesday, Sept. 1.

Jalen SaundersSep 1 09:13a

New Orleans Saints WR Jalen Saunders is being traded to the New England Patriots Tuesday, Sept. 1, for a conditional draft pick, according to a league source.

Caleb SturgisAug 31 11:32p

Miami Dolphins PK Caleb Sturgis remains the front runner in his competition with PK Andrew Franks. Sturgis said he did not have a good early camp, 'but I've been hitting the ball better lately.'

K. ThompkinsAug 31 07:52p

Oakland Raiders WR Kenbrell Thompkins was released Monday, Aug. 31, according to a source.

Trent RichardsonAug 31 07:22p

Oakland Raiders RB Trent Richardson was released Monday, Aug. 31, according to a source.

Josh BoyceAug 31 06:42p

New England Patriots WR Josh Boyce and TE Jimmay Mundine were released Monday, Aug. 31.

E.J. GainesAug 31 05:52p

St. Louis Rams CB E.J. Gaines (foot) was placed on the Reserve/Injured list Monday, Aug. 31. WR Damian Williams was subsequently released.

Travis KelceAug 31 05:32p

Kansas City Chiefs TE Travis Kelce (leg) left practice early Monday, Aug. 31, because of a right leg injury. Kelce was able to walk off the field but did not return to practice.

Brad SmelleyAug 31 05:32p

St. Louis Rams WR Tyler Slavin was waived and TE Brad Smelley (undisclosed) was waived/injured Monday, Aug. 31.

Julius ThomasAug 31 04:42p

Jacksonville Jaguars TE Julius Thomas (finger) is expected to need surgery on a tendon in his finger and is expected to be out four to five weeks, according to [ More ]

Garrett HartleyAug 31 04:32p

Pittsburgh Steelers PK Garrett Hartley (hamstring) was placed on the Reserve/Injured list Monday, Aug. 31.

Kevin NorwoodAug 31 04:32p

Seattle Seahawks WR Kevin Norwood was traded to the Carolina Panthers in exchange for a conditional draft pick, according to a source.

Martavis BryantAug 31 04:02p

Pittsburgh Steelers WR Martavis Bryant's appeal of his suspension has been denied, and he will sit out the first four games of the regular season.

Phil BatesAug 31 03:32p

Dallas Cowboys WR Phil Bates was released Monday, Aug. 31.

Alan BonnerAug 31 03:12p

Houston Texans WRs Alan Bonner and Travis Labhart were released Monday, Aug. 31.

Joique BellAug 31 02:42p

Detroit Lions RB Joique Bell (knee, Achilles') was activated from the Phyiscally Unable to Perform list Monday, Aug. 31.

DeVante ParkerAug 31 01:32p

Miami Dolphins WR DeVante Parker (foot) said he is making progress in his recovery from foot surgery but would not say if he will be ready for the start of the regular season.

Kirk CousinsAug 31 12:52p

Updating an earlier report, Washington Redskins QB Kirk Cousins will be the starting quarterback moving forward, according to head coach Jay Gruden. Gruden said 'it's Kirk's team.'

Victor CruzAug 31 12:22p

New York Giants WR Victor Cruz (calf, knee) still hasn't received clearance to practice Monday, Aug. 31. Cruz said that the inflammation has gone down and that the team [ More ]

Aldrick RobinsonAug 31 12:02p

Baltimore Ravens WR DeAndre Carter, WR Aldrick Robinson and WR Trent Steelman were cut Monday, Aug. 31.

Tyrod TaylorAug 31 11:42a

Buffalo Bills QB Tyrod Taylor was named the starting quarterback Monday, Aug. 31, over QB Matt Cassel an QB EJ Manuel.

Devin FunchessAug 31 11:22a

Carolina Panthers WR Devin Funchess (hamstring) left practice Monday, Aug. 31, with hamstring tightness.

Jeremy StewartAug 31 10:52a

Denver Broncos QB Zac Dysert, TE Joe Don Duncan, TE Jake Murphy and RB Jeremy Stewart were waived Monday, Aug. 31. TE Jeff Heuerman (knee) was placed on Injured Reserve.

Josh ScobeeAug 31 10:42a

Jacksonville Jaguars PK Josh Scobee was acquired by the Pittsburgh Steelers Monday, Aug. 31.

Fred JacksonAug 31 10:42a

Buffalo Bills RB Fred Jackson was released Monday, Aug. 31. He was slated to make $2.35 million this year and wasn't asked to take a pay cut.

Jalen ParmeleAug 31 10:22a

Cleveland Browns RB Jalen Parmele, TE Anthony Ezeakunne and WR Shane Wynn were cut Monday, Aug. 31.

RSS Feeds

NFL News:
 
Player Notes:
 
Forum Posts:
 

© 2015 RealTime Fantasy Sports, Inc.
Email Us  ·  Call Us 636.447.1170  ·  Lost Password
Advertising represented by USA Today Sports Media Group