INDIANAPOLIS – With the regular season distilled to six remaining games, two teams that are not common opponents are taking a common approach.
The 7-3 Colts and 6-4 Cardinals view Sunday’s game at Arizona as a playoff battle.
“In a nutshell, every game is no slips,” said
The only teams with better records are division mates Kansas City and Denver at 9-1. The team that does not win the West would move into the Wild Card round despite its record.
With a three-game lead over Tennessee in the South, Indianapolis is not in a giving mood for Sunday, or beyond.
“No doubt about it,” said
The Colts have won three of their last four. Arizona has won its last three games and is side-by-side with San Francisco in the NFC West.
“This is a playoff game for us,” said Bruce Arians. “We’re in a situation where we’re tied for that last Wild Card spot and every week’s a playoff game.
“We can’t get behind with Carolina (7-3) winning. We’ve got to be chasing them and sitting on their heels. Every week we’re in a playoff mode right now that if we lose, we’re out.”
Arizona posted a win over Carolina in October before losing consecutive games to the 49ers and Seattle. Since then, the Cardinals have swept Atlanta, Houston and Jacksonville to get back in the hunt.
Told Arizona was invoking the post-season mode, Chuck Pagano said the same applies to his team.
“And us (too),” said Pagano. “It’s them and the same thing for us. So our guys, it’s all playoff football right now.”
Last year, the Colts chased Houston into week 15 before a road loss there handed the Texans the division crown. The 11-5 Colts had to visit 10-6 Baltimore in the Wild Card Playoffs.
Should the Colts and Tennessee (4-6) have the same outcome this weekend and Indianapolis beat the Titans next Sunday in Indianapolis, the AFC South title will be clinched.
In the immediate sights are the Cardinals, and the Colts will be trying to better their 4-1 record away from home.
“This is another week for us to go out on the road and get another tough win against a team that has a lot of play-makers on both sides of the ball and against a head coach we know very well,” said Redding. “It’s going to be a huge challenge for us.”
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