Originally posted on NESN.com  |  Last updated 11/10/12
The Indianapolis Colts have been at the epicenter of NFL headlines all season long. First, everyone wanted to know how the team would fare in the Andrew Luck era after seeing the success that Peyton Manning brought. Then, first-year head coach Chuck Pagano was diagnosed with leukemia and after responding with a win against the Green Bay Packers on Oct. 7, the team became the NFL’s darlings. Now, after interim head coach Bruce Arians has led the team to five wins in their last six games, the Colts are legitimate playoff contenders. Indianapolis is currently second in the AFC South with a 6-3 record and they boast the best record of any second place team in the AFC. Of the team’s remaining seven games, four are against opponents with a .500 record or worse and three of those games are against divisional opponents — including two games against the division-leading Houston Texans. Needless to say, the Colts can decide their own fate and have the makeup to make a strong playoff push. In order to win consistently, as the Colts have demonstrated in their last six games, a team must have winners and Indianapolis has guys who know how to win. Before Arians joined the Colts’ staff this season, he was a member of the Pittsburgh Steelers coaching staff for eight seasons. During his tenure in Pittsburgh, Arians was a part of 89 wins, three conference championships and two Super Bowl championships. Arians is also largely responsible for the success of Ben Roethlisberger, and has played a large role in the development of Luck, who knows how to win as well. During his three years as the starting quarterback at Stanford, Luck led the team to a 31-8 record and has carried his humble confidence and winning ways to the NFL. Through his first nine games, Luck is completing 57.5 percent of his passes for 2,631 yards and 10 touchdowns, and has also rushed for five touchdowns. The Colts also have a stable of players who were a part of the organization’s recent glory days, including Reggie Wayne, Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis. Even with two games against the formidable Houston Texans, Indianapolis could easily win four of their last seven games and finish with a 10-6 record, putting them in a prime position to land a playoff spot. As the Colts enter the home stretch, they will face the Tennessee Titans and Buffalo Bills, who rank 30th and 31st respectively in team defense. They also face the Kansas City Chiefs, who have had a terribly disappointing season and no consistency at the quarterback position, and the Detroit Lions who are talented, but often shoot themselves in the foot with the amount of silly penalties they commit. Heck, Indianapolis could likely pull out a victory against the New England Patriots in week 11, with their fourth-ranked offensive attack picking apart the Patriots porous secondary. While the Colts possess the players and coaches that know what it takes to win and the firepower to put teams away or keep up in a shootout, they also have the most important ingredient of them all – motivation. Every team goes into a season with hopes of winning a Super Bowl, but the 2012 Colts are fighting week in and week out to honor Pagano as he battles leukemia. The fact that the team won five out of their six games after Pagano was diagnosed certainly speaks to the character of the team and the effect Pagano has. Pagano’s leukemia recently fell into remission, and his fight and will to win has inspired his players and coaches to go above and beyond their natural abilities to win. The Colts haven’t dominated opponents by any means this season, but in last-minute wins over the Packers and Dolphins, they portrayed their will to win and that can carry them into the postseason. What happens in the next seven weeks is unknown, but Indianapolis is a talented team with a superb quarterback, a veteran presence and the inspiration of a coach who has proven anything can be done with the right attitude. That sounds like a recipe for success.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Former Clemson star Tajh Boyd to speak at John Kasich rally

Peyton Manning's alleged not-so-wholesome image

Hawks not shopping Al Horford at NBA trade deadline

Report: Lincecum has been throwing in secret location

RG3 passes exit physical, clears way for release

Bryce Harper has great response to $400 million contract question

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Cavs discussed three-team deal that would net them Melo

Celtics reportedly discussing Kevin Love trade

New York Giants to pursue Matt Forte?

Joe Mauer to try wearing sunglasses to improve pitch tracking

Charles Woodson joining ESPN's 'Sunday NFL Countdown' team

A’s land Khris Davis from Brewers for prospects

Brook Lopez is the NBA's most underrated big man

Reviewing the Tampa Bay Rays

Peyton Manning's alleged not-so-wholesome image

The Ryan Johansen-Seth Jones trade thus far

Chaotic Cleveland should stick with Kevin Love, halt the rumors

Kevin Durant was ‘shocked’ by Derek Fisher firing

Why the Virginia Cavaliers are a National Championship contender

Cardiff City owner tells team to shoot more, because ugly men can marry beautiful women

Report: American Pharoah will make $35 million as stud in 2016

City hosts Tottenham in Valentine’s Day clash

Ranking the ten best free agent pitcher signings

Is there a place for Aaron Hill with the Brewers?

The market for forwards may shape the NHL trade deadline

NFL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Ranking the ten best free agent pitcher signings

Who had the best NBA All-Star Game of the last 40 years?

The winners and losers of the 2016 MLB offseason

On Kobe Bryant and taking greatness for granted

Bucks need to choose between wins, development

Fantasy booking WrestleMania 32

Unrestricted free agents each team must consider re-signing

QUIZ: Name the winners of the NBA Slam Dunk Contest

Thank you Daniel Bryan

The timeless greatness of Jaromir Jagr

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker