The Colts have a lot on the line in Cincinnati

December, 3, 2013
12/03/13
8:00
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INDIANAPOLIS -- The Indianapolis Colts got back on the winning track when they beat the Tennessee Titans last weekend.

Next up?

Wrapping up their first AFC South title since 2010 and closing in on at least the No. 3 seed in the playoffs.

It won't be easy, but both of those things can happen this weekend.

The Colts head back on the road where they take on the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday. A victory over the Bengals or a loss by Tennessee at Denver gives Indianapolis the division title.

Winning at Cincinnati would count double points for the Colts.

It would give them the division title and also give them a one-game lead over the Bengals, who lead the AFC North, for the No. 3 seed in the playoffs. The two teams have identical 8-4 records, but the Colts currently are the No. 3 seed because they have a better conference record.

The Colts would host the Baltimore Ravens if the playoffs started today.

“Our guys understand where we're at,” coach Chuck Pagano said. “They understand the record. They understand the division. They understand what we have to do to get into the playoffs. Certainly, we're not going to get ahead of ourselves.”

Pagano said he doesn't scoreboard watch to see what other teams are doing. It's understandable, though, if that happens because it means you usually have something on the line.

One of the first things Ricky Jean Francois asked in the locker room after Sunday's game was if the Houston Texans held on to beat the New England Patriots. The Patriots came from behind to beat Houston.

A Texans' win would have moved the Colts into the No. 2 seed. The top seeds in the conference get a bye the first weekend of the playoffs

“I ain't going to sit here and lie and tell you we don't scoreboard watch,” Colts linebacker Robert Mathis said. “We do. But at the same time, we have to be focused on what we're doing. This is really just staying alert on everything that's going on and just being aware of your surroundings. So it's scoreboard watching, but at the same time we're still focused on our job.”

 

Mike Wells

ESPN Indianapolis Colts reporter

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