The pregame hype to the Thursday night Week 16 matchup between the Houston Texans and Indianapolis Colts was nonexistent. The Colts had no playoff aspirations and there was no appeal in watching them play a Houston team that had already locked up a playoff spot with no real expatiations to advance due to the fact that they are now forced to play T.J. Yates, their rookie third string quarterback. If you are a football purest however, the game itself however was actually quite a contest.
The Colts won the game 19-16 with a thrilling four quarter comeback spearheaded by none other than the duo of Peyton Manning Dan Orlovsky and Reggie Wayne with just 1:56 left to go in the game. Orlovsky culminated a 1:32, 78-yard drive by hitting Wayne for the game winner on a perfect back shoulder fade in the corner of the end zone with just 24 seconds to go.
But wait, with the Colts winning their second game of the year, did Colt fans receive a Christmas present in their stockings or a lump of coal? Just two weeks ago the Colts had the Andrew Luck sweepstakes locked up. The certain successor to Peyton Manning was theirs for the taking, and a clear Manning succession plan was firmly in place. Now two wins later at 2-13, Indy has to battle the Minnesota Vikings (2-12) and St. Louis Rams (2-12) for the number one pick in the 2012 NFL Draft and the privilege to land Luck. To compound matters, the Colts may not be able to get the second prized college quarterback, USC Trojans’ Matt Barkley, as he announced earlier in the day that he will not be entering next year’s NFL draft and will be returning to USC for one more year.
“I ain’t worried a bit about the draft or any of that kind of stuff,” said Colts C Jeff Saturday. “I’ll let the Polians deal with that, that’s their job, right? My job’s to win football games, that’s all I care about. And that’s all they tell us to care about. I’ve never heard one person in this organization ever talk about what our draft is gonna be next year. You know, those guys plan to get the best players in here, and you’ll see what you get.”
The Colts still control their own destiny here and if they lose to at Jacksonville in Week 17, the Colts will still get the No. 1 overall draft pick in 2012.
Can you really tell professional athletes to lose a game? The way the NFL works, many of these guys won’t even be on the team next season and don’t care about getting next year’s top pick. And the players who will be back are playing for jobs for next season. As Colts DE Dwight Freeney put it, there are never any guarantees that getting the number one pick turns things around anyway. “We don’t know what’s gonna happen,” said Freeney. “We don’t care. What if the guy’s a bust anyway?”
The Vikings play the Washington Redskins on the road and the Chicago Bears at home. The Rams play the Pittsburgh Steelers on the road and the San Francisco 49ers at home. Looking at the landscape, the Vikings don’t appear to be a lock to win either of their final two and the Rams don’t appear to even stand a chance stand a chance at winning another game. If you’re a Colts fan, hopefully Orlovsky doesn’t make like Peyton Manning in the fourth quarter again next week because while you may desperately want them to lose, the coaches and players are going to try to win.
As for Texans fans, the defense and running game remain solid. In fact, Arian Foster running the stretch play appears almost unstoppable with the blocking on those plays routinely opening huge running lanes. If Houston plans on doing any damage at all in the playoffs however, they may have to consider playing veteran Jeff Garcia at quarterback. It remains to be seen if he has anything left in the tank, one would think that if he did he would have been on an NFL roster the entire year; but the Texans may not have any choice but to give it a shot.
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The founder and former owner of MC3 Sports Media, Mike Cardano is the Sr. Business Administrator for RotoExperts and the Executive Director here at TheXLog.com. You may email Mike @ [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @MikeCardano. Listen to Mike on Sirius XM Fantasy Sports Radio with Scott Engel and the morning crew Tuesday mornings at 10am ET.