Miami (6-9) at Indianapolis (11-4) Sunday 4:15 pm EST
INDIANAPOLIS (Ticker) -- After winning their first nine games,
the Indianapolis Colts had designs of gaining home-field
advantage throughout the AFC playoffs for a second straight
But heading into Sunday's season finale against the Miami
Dolphins, the Colts would be fortunate to secure a playoff bye.
In order to clinch a bye, the Colts need a win in this contest
and a loss by Baltimore at home to Buffalo. If Indianapolis
fails to secure a bye, it would host a wild-card game next
Just 2-4 since becoming the first team in NFL history to start
at least 9-0 in consecutive seasons, the Colts' problems could
be attributed to a run defense which ranks last in the league,
allowing 174.5 yards per game.
Last Sunday, the Colts surrendered 191 yards on the ground in a
27-24 loss at Houston.
Peyton Manning completed 21-of-27 passes for 205 yards and three
touchdowns against the Texans. The seven-time Pro Bowler leads
the NFL with 29 touchdowns and a 100.9 rating. He also
eclipsed 4,000 passing yards for the seventh straight season - an
In Nick Saban's second season as coach, the Dolphins already
have clinched last place in the AFC East. It marks the first
time in Saban's 13 seasons as either an NFL or college coach
that he will finish with a losing record.
Saban pulled starting quarterback Joey Harrington in favor of
Cleo Lemon in the third quarter in a 13-10 loss to the New York
Jets on Christmas.
Lemon, who could make his first start of the season in this
contest, completed 11-of-16 passes for 104 yards and a touchdown
against the Jets.
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The Dolphins are coming off a tough loss to the Jets, while the Colts are coming off a devastating loss to Houston. Indianapolis was the favorite to win the Super Bowl, going 9-0 before dropping four of its last six games. This should be an interesting contest as Nick Saban will have his team ready for the upset and Tony Dungy will have his team fighting for better positioning in the postseason. The Colts need to play well and to gain some confidence and momentum going into the playoffs. This should be a spirited contest to end the regular season.