OAKLAND CA - DECEMBER 26: Peyton Manning #18 of the Indianapolis Colts looks on against the Oakland Raiders during an NFL game at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on December 26 2010 in Oakland California. (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)
A few nights ago Inside the NFL closed out 2010 with some of the highlights from 2010. Kansas City, Cleveland, St. Louis among others never made the 2 minute highlight - not even as opponents - that showed about 50 clips from all the year's action. Now, it's a given they aren't the most exciting teams, but Kansas City is a playoff team and St. Louis very might well be too! On the other hand, The Jets, Giants, Pats, Eagles, Redskins combined to be about in every piece of footage excluding the ones of....the Indianapolis Colts!
That 2 minute highlight reel not only incapsulated the incredible East Coast bias of the NFL but also the equally incredible feat the Colts have accomplished - gaining national audiences and recognition as a small market mid west team. Seeing the Colts steal TV time from Mark Sanchez, Michael Vick and Tom Brady was extremely rewarding. It also gave a glimpse of the nerves Commissioner Roger Goodell will be fighting while watching the Colts game because Jacksonville - it actually did make the montage - doesn't draw an audience. No one cares - especially if Gerrard and Mojo were both out. Today we might actually have the NFL on our side!
Simply put, the Colts and Pats rivalry is the best in the NFL and maybe all of sports. Its nail-biting, evenly matched drama every single game pitting two of the greatest quarterbacks ever against one another.
Funny thing is, even though the Patriots own the best record at 13-2, they present the Colts with the best matchup and chance to win (unless of course it snows). Like the Colts, the Patriots are a finesse team that relies on timing, precision and smarts to win. The 2 seed, Pittsburgh, is a power team that beats teams with a physical aggressive defense and by pounding the run on offense (which if you are a Colts fan sounds like your worst nightmare).
Here is the dream playoff scenario and the most manageable road to the Superbowl for the Colts:
Colts host the Ravens in the first round as a 4 seed.
Colts then travel to New England for the divisional game.
Colts return home to face the Jets in a rematch of last season's AFC championship.
Colts face the Seattle Seahawks in the Superbowl
Ok ok, the last one is a bit of a stretch, but I did say dream scenario.
Here are a few games to keep tabs on because unlike the NFL we Colts' fans care about more than just the northeast. These matchups are the ones which would be be both realistic and ideal.
Baltimore vs. Cincinnati - A win over the Bengals and a win by the Steelers and Baltimore is locked into the 5 seed.
Chiefs vs. Oakland - A victory over the Chiefs would give the Chiefs the 3 seed but also mean they stay on Pittsburgh's side of the bracket.
* * Jets vs. Buffalo - As long as the Ravens win, this game doesn't matter but ideally the Jets lose, guaranteeing themselves the 6th seed
You can definitely argue that the Jets are the weaker team compared to the Ravens but given how the Colts always play well and often dominate the Ravens, I think the Ravens are a better matchup for the Colts. The Jets are streaky and matchup better against the Colts presenting us with more mismatches that we would have to overcome.
They could do us a HUGE favor with a win.
And of course the Colts game.... If we can start fast, we should be in great shape.