The Indianapolis Colts have missed the playoffs just twice with Peyton Manning as their quarterback — in his rookie season of 1998 and in 2001. They are currently riding a streak of eight straight playoff appearances, but that streak is in serious jeopardy today as they face the AFC South-leading Jacksonville Jaguars at Lucas Oil Stadium. The Colts lost a heartbreaker to the Jags in Week 4 on a Josh Scobee field goal as time expired.
Sundays game is a must-win for the Colts. If they lose, their playoff hopes will be shot, and contract negotiations with Manning may have to start a little sooner. If they beat the Jags, the two teams will have identical overall winning percentages and divisional winning percentages — the first two NFL playoff tie-breakers. The third tie-breaker — winning percentage in common games — would give the edge to the Colts. Each team has one game remaining against an opponent the other has already beaten, so as long as the Colts win out the Jags can’t catch them. After today’s game, neither team has a game remaining against a playoff contender.
The Colts have already seen their streak of seven consecutive 12-win seasons snapped, and surely don’t want to lose this one too. They may not win out, but I can’t imagine they will lose today — at home, with their playoff lives on the line — though Manning has been less-than-spectacular in playoff games. That’s what this game today is for the Colts. Win and your still alive. Lose and we’ll see you next year.Google+