The Colts will head to Minnesota to face a Vikings team that is their polar opposite on the field. Offensively, Kirk Cousins has powerful weapons at his disposal through the air in Justin Jefferson, and T.J. Hockenson, among others. Dalvin Cook and Alexander Mattison are both formidable out of the Vikings backfield. This will give Indianapolis another big defensive test, and given the struggles on offense, they’ll need to show up in a big way.
On the other hand, the Vikings have a porous pass defense that could be just what the doctor ordered for Matt Ryan and the Colts’ passing game. Could Ryan find Pittman, Pierce, and Woods often enough to get over the 20-point hurdle that has plagued the team this season? If so, the defense could give the team a chance to win a big game on the road.
Of course, what does the franchise get from a win? At this point in the season, plenty of fans ask whether it makes more sense to lose. The higher the Colts draft this year, the more likely they will come away with the quarterback prospect they covet most. Isn’t that more important than a few late-season wins to “feel good” or to build a resume for Jeff Saturday as a head coach?
Speaking of Saturday, he has made it clear this week that he has loved every minute of his time as a head coach in Indianapolis. He would like the opportunity to fill the role full-time. The question fans can’t know at this point is what is Jim Irsay’s edict behind the scenes? Is he evaluating the team based on how hard they play and perhaps how they finish down the stretch? Is that how he will approach the broader coaching search this off-season?
Maybe Irsay has explained that wins and losses don’t motivate him. Perhaps he has explained to Saturday and other coaches that he and Ballard are evaluating specific things and that their futures aren’t tied to wins under the circumstances.
One thing is sure; there’s no way Irsay or anyone in the front office would blatantly admit that if it were true. After all, fans buy tickets to watch their team win games. Sure, they might also understand that more wins will happen in the future if more losses happen now, but who doesn’t love the feeling of a win — especially when you can’t guarantee wins in the future or that moves and decisions will pan out?