The Indianapolis Colts know they'll open the playoffs at home - the question is when. The AFC South champion Colts go into Sunday's regular-season finale against the visiting Jacksonville Jaguars with an outside shot at a first-round bye, needing a win as well as a New England loss and a Cincinnati loss or tie to earn an extra week before starting the postseason. The Colts rolled in Jacksonville 37-3 in Week 4, but the Jaguars have won in their last two trips to Indianapolis and are riding a three-game road winning streak.
Indianapolis has won its last two games by a combined score of 48-10, including an impressive 23-7 victory at Kansas City last week, and the Colts want to keep their hot streak going as they enter the playoffs. "Momentum is never overrated," Indianapolis defensive end Cory Redding told the team's website. "I think that does make a huge difference. It gains confidence. It's an energy booster." The Colts are trying to finish with a perfect record against the AFC South for the first time since the division was created in 2002.
TV: 1 p.m. ET, CBS. LINE: Colts -11.5. O/U: 45.5.
ABOUT THE JAGUARS (4-11): Coach Gus Bradley's first year in Jacksonville has to be considered a moderate success - at least the second half of it. After losing their first eight games by an average of 22.2 points, the Jaguars won four of five after their bye week. The defense has been hit with key injuries late in the season, which has contributed to the Jaguars allowing 380 rushing yards over their past two games - both losses.
ABOUT THE COLTS (10-5): Indianapolis has been fairly balanced on offense, but the ground game is a bellwether for its success - the Colts are 9-1 when rushing for over 100 yards, including their past two games. "Especially December football, playoff football, this is the formula," coach Chuck Pagano said on his radio show. "You talk about being able to run the football, stop the run, pack a great defense." The Colts have forced 10 turnovers in their last three wins and have been especially tough against the pass in recent weeks.
1. Colts QB Andrew Luck (7,914) needs seven passing yards to surpass Cam Newton for the most by an NFL player in his first two seasons.
2. Jaguars RB Maurice Jones-Drew has rushed for 1,412 yards against the Colts, his most against any opponent.
3. Jaguars TE Marcedes Lewis has caught a touchdown pass in four straight games and needs six catches to become the fourth player in franchise history with 300 receptions.
PREDICTION: Colts 27, Jaguars 17