What I think they're thinking
Posted by ESPN.com's Paul Kuharsky
What I think they're thinking in the four headquarters of AFC South teams today:
It's never easy. The good thing is that Gary Kubiak knew we were not getting over the hangover from beating Tennessee during the practice week. The bad thing is, though, he recognized he couldn't change our course. That was pitiful.
We need to remember how good we felt last Monday, but during this offseason it will be more important to remember how we feel today, and boy does it feel crappy.
If we have any pride, we've got to beat the Bears Sunday at Reliant Stadium to close out the season, whether that game has playoff implications for them or not. There is a monumental difference between 8-8 and 7-9.
What a restful weekend. We didn't earn a playoff bye, but the league did us a favor with that Week 16 Thursday game, because this amounted to a mini-bye. Now we'll get some numbers at the start of this game, then play it like we're in August.
We'll be home in plenty of time to root on Denver against San Diego. We'll say we don't care, but of course we'd rather the Broncos win. They are 27th against the pass and 28th in overall defense. We can shred that up even in the cold.
San Diego doesn't have a good statistical pass defense either, but before we won there in Week 12 we'd lost three in a row to the Chargers and they knocked us out of the playoffs last season. We've handled the Broncos the last three times we saw them. [Corrected this from earlier, when I blanked out on this season's game and said the Colts had lost three in a row to San Diego.]
Let's see, the league moved the game to 4:15 p.m. ET. The game is over at 7:30, we're on the plane by 9:45, which means we land in Jacksonville about 11:45. I'll call for a late-morning tee time Monday and sleep in. By the time my round is done, several assistant coaches will be emptying out their offices.
Momentum has often trumped seeding in the playoffs recently. With our win over the Steelers, we'll have both going for us when we host a game Jan. 10 or 11.
We will do enough on Sunday at Lucas Oil Stadium to keep the flow going and we'll play our healthy front-line people more than the Colts will, because a week off will be enough for us and we don't think we can just hit "pause" now and "play" later and pick up where we want to.
Mike Reinfeldt got some props from defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz after the game for the way he's built us to be able to survive injuries to key people. The whole organization can be proud of making that architecture work in the big win over the Steelers.