2013 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

Terrelle PryorApr 23 08:58a

The Seattle Seahawks acquired QB Terrelle Pryor from the Oakland Raiders Monday, April 21, in exchange for a seventh-round draft pick in this year's draft. He will compete with [ More ]

Matt RyanApr 22 10:53p

Atlanta Falcons head coach Mike Smith is calling for major improvement on both sides of the line of scrimmage. He fears the team could bottom out for a second [ More ]

EJ ManuelApr 22 08:13p

Buffalo Bills QB EJ Manuel (knees) is healthy entering voluntary workouts and feels normal and had no limitations during the Tuesday, April 22 conditioning program. Bills head coach Doug [ More ]

Rolando McClainApr 22 07:53p

Updating a previous report, the Baltimore Ravens have officially placed LB Rolando McClain on the reserve-retired list for a second time. The Ravens will retain McClain's rights if he changes his mind again.

Eli ManningApr 22 07:33p

New York Giants QB Eli Manning (ankle) expects to be 100 percent for the beginning of training camp. Manning has no concerns about learning the Giants' new playbook, instead [ More ]

Ray RiceApr 22 04:43p

Baltimore Ravens RB Ray Rice looks great physically, according to strength and conditioning coach Bob Roguck. 'He's doing some things differently as far as his diet and so forth, [ More ]

David WilsonApr 22 02:43p

New York Giants RB David Wilson (neck) said he is still waiting for a clear MRI to be medically cleared, but is currently ahead of schedule.

Julio JonesApr 22 01:13p

Atlanta Falcons WR Julio Jones (foot) will be limited during the team's offseason workouts while he recovers from offseason foot surgery. 'Julio is participating with our athletic performance department,' [ More ]

Eli ManningApr 22 01:03p

New York Giants QB Eli Manning (ankle) said his ankle is progressing but he does not have a timetable for his return to the field. Manning is currently in a walking boot.

Stevie BrownApr 22 12:33p

New York Giants FS Stevie Brown (knee) said he feels like he is ready to go when the Giants hit the field after recovering from a serious knee injury. [ More ]

Will HillApr 22 10:33a

The New York Giants are likely to cut FS Will Hill after his third potential drug suspension.

Josh MorganApr 22 09:52a

Chicago Bears WR Joshua Morgan is likely to compete for the No. 3 or 4 wide receiver role this year, and he'll compete with WRs Domenik Hixon, Eric Weems [ More ]

Will HillApr 22 09:33a

New York Giants FS Will Hill is facing a year-long suspension after reportedly failing another drug test. He will appeal what would be his third drug-related suspension.

Kyle WilliamsApr 21 09:33p

The Kansas City Chiefs re-signed WR Kyle Williams Monday, April 21. Terms of the deal were undisclosed.

Colt AndersonApr 21 07:12p

The Indianapolis Colts signed free-agent FS Colt Anderson (Eagles) to an undisclosed deal Monday, April 21.

Jamar TaylorApr 21 06:43p

Miami Dolphins CB Jamar Taylor (groin) is healthy following hernia surgery and began offseason workouts with his teammates Monday, April 21. Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin said he expects [ More ]

Dustin KellerApr 21 05:42p

Eugene Parker, agent for free-agent TE Dustin Keller (knee), said Keller is ready to participate in offseason workouts when he signs with a team.

Eric FisherApr 21 05:12p

Kansas City Chiefs OT Eric Fisher (shoulder, hernia) said there is no timetable for his return following multiple surgeries, but he doesn't think he'll be out for long. 'He's [ More ]

Josh MorganApr 21 04:02p

The Chicago Bears have signed free-agent WR Joshua Morgan (Redskins) to a one-year deal. Financial terms were not disclosed.

A.J. GreenApr 21 03:32p

Cincinnati Bengals WR A.J. Green said he has added around six pounds this offseason, because he wants to be more physical as a way to beat coverage at the [ More ]

Michael VickApr 21 02:42p

New York Jets QB Geno Smith said he believes he will be the starting quarterback this upcoming season even though the team added QB Michael Vick this offseason. He [ More ]

Navorro BowmanApr 21 02:12p

The San Francisco 49ers plan to place LB NaVorro Bowman (knee) on the Physically Unable to Perform list when training camp begins, because he is not expected to be [ More ]

Eric FisherApr 21 02:02p

Kansas City Chiefs OT Eric Fisher (shoulder, hernia) underwent shoulder surgery and had a procedure to fix a sports hernia. He's currently rehabbing in Kansas City.

Tony CarterApr 21 01:22p

The Denver Broncos signed DT Mitch Unrein to his restricted free-agent tender Monday, April 21. CB Tony Carter, SS Duke Ihenacho and LB Brandon M. Marshall all signed their exclusive rights tenders.

Rolando McClainApr 21 01:02p

Baltimore Ravens LB Rolando McClain is retiring from the NFL again Monday, April 21. 'I gotta follow my heart. It ain't football. If football made me complete I would [ More ]

Tony RomoApr 21 12:42p

Dallas Cowboys QB Tony Romo (back) will take part in the team's voluntary offseason program beginning Monday, April 21, according to a source. Players are allowed to lift weights, [ More ]

Marcus LattimoreApr 20 09:12p

San Francisco 49ers RB Marcus Lattimore (knee) is not expected to be restricted in any way when offseason workouts begin.

Michael EgnewApr 20 08:42p

The Miami Dolphins likely will add at least two more tight ends this offseason that will compete with TE Michael Egnew for a roster spot.

Armon BinnsApr 20 12:02a

Miami Dolphins WR Armon Binns is currently the team's No. 4 receiver, but the Dolphins have had discussions about WR Rishard Matthews replacing Binns at the spot, according to a source.

Tyrone CrawfordApr 20 12:02a

Dallas Cowboys DT Tyrone Crawford (Achilles') is expected to be ready for the team's offseason program, and he is expected to be a key piece to the defense this season.

M. Jones-DrewApr 20 12:02a

If healthy, Oakland Raiders RB Darren McFadden is expected to be the team's starting tailback with RB Maurice Jones-Drew as his backup.

Brian HartlineApr 20 12:02a

Miami Dolphins WR Brian Hartline (knee) is expected to be ready for the start of mini camp, according to a source. He suffered a torn posterior cruciate ligament in the 2013 regular season finale.

RSS Feeds

NFL News:
 
Player Notes:
 
Forum Posts:
 

© 2014 RealTime Fantasy Sports, Inc.
Email Us  ·  Call Us 636.447.1170  ·  Lost Password
Advertising represented by USA Today Sports Media Group