Going into their bye week, the Colts find themselves in an encouraging position. With wins in their last two games, they sit at 5-5 and are in contention for a playoff spot.
If the postseason started right now, the Colts would be on the outside looking in, but not by much. Per the current NFL playoff standings, they are ninth in the AFC.
That's made all the more impressive considering the injuries and adversity the team has experienced through the first 10 weeks of the season.
Their hopes of winning the AFC South aren't dashed either. They're currently third in the standings but have key games against the Titans and Texans which could help shift momentum in their favor as the season wears on.
"There's no quit in this team," defensive end Kwity Paye said. "We're playing for each other, we're playing for our coaches, we're just playing for a lot right now. I feel like although guys are banged up, guys are stepping up.
"It just speaks to how Shane [Steichen] has continued to change the culture here."
That shift in thinking has the team believing that they can compete with anyone, something that tight end Mo Alie-Cox said lacked last season.
"I would say that our mentality is that we're hungry and we know there's a belief that we can compete in every single game that we're in. There's no giving up," tight end Mo Alie-Cox said. "Last year, we were in a bunch of games that were close and then it would just turn into a blowout of nowhere. This year, we get down and things like that, [but] everybody has that resiliency, that grit and that fight just to know that we're always in a game and we can win any game."
That mindset should serve them well as they prepare for what looks to be a manageable slate of games to end the season - starting in Week 12 when they return from their bye to host the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
|12||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||4-5|
|17||Las Vegas Raiders||5-5|
As of Nov. 14, the Colts only play three teams with a record over .500. All told, their opponents' combined record is 32-33, which Steichen said may sound like it works in the team's favor, but doesn't mean anything if they don't handle their business.
"I think in the league obviously, you look at the standings, but you got to take it one week at a time and focus on what you can focus on and control what you can control," Steichen said. "And that's winning one week at a time and being focused on being 1-0 every single week. Then once you get towards the end, Week 15, Week 16, Week 17, you see where it goes and then it really turns into that playoff atmosphere depending on the standings."
So, in the meantime Steichen and the rest of the coaching staff are going to spend the bye week finding ways to ensure that the team is playing its best football down the stretch.
"I'll take a day or two to reboot, but obviously, looking at stuff is gonna be big going forward and make sure we have a really good plan in all three phases moving forward," Steichen said. "Self-scouting is huge in these bye weeks. You can take a lot away from it, getting better. And like I said, the biggest thing for us moving forward is going to be playing complementary football in all three phases."