The marathon is over, and it's time to sprint.
It no longer matters if the Jags are a good team on paper. It no longer matters who is hurt or when they are coming back.
You don't have to be good. You just have to win.
I ran some simple probabilities this morning. I'm not going to share them.
They aren't pretty.
The bad news is that the odds are very much against the 2010 Colts making the playoffs. The Jags win yesterday took away the back door option for the Colts. While there are scenarios in which they can make the playoffs with a loss in their final two games, they have no choice but to win this week against the Jags.
The worst news of all is that talent won't likely matter. The Jags and Colts have played 8 times in Indianapolis since 2002. While the Colts are 6-2, only one of the games was decided by more than a touchdown. The Jags are engineered (in an incredibly short sighted manner) to beat the Colts. They will run the ball. They will keep the score close. They will hope to win on luck. It's what they do. They've had more than their share in 2010. The numbers say they are basically on par with teams like the Lions, Vikings, 49ers and Texans. The standings say they have 8 wins. It's better to be lucky than good.
Over the long haul, or if the season the was played 10,000 times, it would matter that Jacksonville has a bottom 7 defense in the NFL. Not only will they not be playing this season 10,000 times (and frankly who would want to relieve it that often), the season is now just one game.
There's no more worrying about who will be ready for the playoffs or how much time they'll miss. For the Colts, anyone not ready this Sunday has already missed the playoffs. There's no relying on reputation or probability now. The Colts offense is going to score enough points to win. The Jaguars have given up at least 24 points NINE times in just 13 games. The question is going to be if the Indy defense can do any better than the Jags. They've allowed 24 or more points in 6 games (actually 8, but that includes the four pick sixes).
I loathe the Jaguars. I don't like their coach. I don't like their style. I find them to be a petty cheap little organization. They've run a second class operation for years, whining about respect that they never bothered to actually earn. Now we have to beat them to claim what is rightfully ours: the AFC South Championship.
Am I frothing at the mouth? Am I rambling? Yes. It's all I can do. The only influence we can have over the outcome will be through the din pouring over the turf at the Luke on Sunday. I'm thousands of miles away, and I can't even contribute on that front. We all wish there was something we could to do nudge the stream of history. The 65,000 on Sunday will be able to play their part, but the rest of us will sit and suffer and watch, living and dying on what amounts to the roll of a dice.
There are no more explanations, trends, or predictions to give comfort.
There is just the reality:
Or go home.