It all comes down to the final game of the season — again. A week ago, the Colts were unable to punch their playoff ticket at home against the Las Vegas Raiders. Now they’ll have to go on the road to beat the Jaguars in Jacksonville for the first time in seven years.
Even after dropping another winnable game, with playoffs implications, the Colts are riding quite a bit of momentum as the postseason nears. There isn’t an AFC team that appears unbeatable and Indianapolis has been stellar playing outside, in the elements, and on the road.
Perhaps these are reasons fans remain confident in the direction the team is headed. This version of the Jaguars seems worse and even more dysfunctional than the ones the Colts played over the last six years and this Colts team is arguably better at most positions than it has been in a long time.
Should Indianapolis take this game lightly? No. Should the Colts beat the Jaguars convincingly? Yes.
One thing is certain. If Indianapolis fails to defeat the Jaguars and misses the playoffs after such a huge push to dig themselves out of a big early-season hole, fan confidence will tank.
Carson Wentz has been better than he was in 2020 and has also shown the propensity to make some of the same mistakes and errors that have made it difficult for his teams to win in the past. If the Colts give up a first-round pick in 2022 for a player who ultimately fails to get his team to the playoffs, and who might otherwise be responsible for costing this Colts franchise two years as it enters a window filled with key Pro Bowl-caliber players who are entering their primes (Indianapolis led the league with 7 Pro Bowl selections), the future won’t look as bright.
On the national level, the Colts have a legitimate MVP candidate in Jonathan Taylor, who is in his second season, but no rookie has made a bigger splash than Ja’Marr Chase with the Bengals. Chase has been a big play waiting to happen and has had single-game performances this year that have helped lead the Bengals back to the playoffs — something that hasn’t happened very often for Cincinnati.
Colts fans might also be interested to know that the Jacksonville Jaguars stand alone as the only NFL franchise with absolutely no fan confidence. Frankly, I don’t recall having ever seen a franchise without a single fan responding that they have confidence in the future.