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Colts Mailbag: What Should Colts Fans Expect In The AFC Championship?

Intro: This week, mailbag readers inquire about the win over the Broncos, the play of Boom Herron and the keys to an AFC Championship win.

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INDIANAPOLIS – Each week, readers of Colts.com can submit their questions to have a chance of them being answered in our Wednesday mailbag.

Here is this week's collection:Ed Karwcaki (Wisconsin)

Kevin,it was great to watch our COLTS win the last 2 weeks and have an offense and defense playing like we knew they could but it really bothered me when these so called export sports writers say the reason Denver lost was because Peyton was hurt. They dont give the COLTS defense much credit. I think even if Peyton was healthy they still would have lost. If he was hurt why did he play the whole game? I know its not our problem but still.

Bowen: Even with Peyton battling that thigh/quad injury late in the season, he still put up some pretty solid numbers. Were they on the same level of what he did earlier in the year? No. But it was enough to get the job done. Give credit to the Colts defense though. Yes, Manning misfired on several deep balls, but rarely was their significant separation between the Broncos pass catchers and the Colts defenders. It's pretty simple that you aren't going to "bench" a future Hall of Famer, even if he wasn't at 100 percent, when your backup has little NFL experience.

Jon D. (Broad Ripple, IN)

First off I want to start off by saying, what a TEAM win on Sunday! The way the team played, all the grit and heart they showed was fun to watch. Andrew Luck just keeps getting better and better week after week. The defense stifled Peyton Manning and made it difficult for him to get in a grove. As for my questions:

  1. In regards to Boom Herron, what happened to his shoulder? They never really disclosed the injury to the fans via television, and I would like to know what the problem may have been? But all the credit to him for fighting through and having another phenomenal game all around! Do you think he earns himself a prominent roll in the offense again next year? I sure hope so, he deserves it!
  1. Hakeem Nicks has played well in the past few weeks, although we have not heard much from him this year, he has shown up big in the games as of late. Do you see the team trying to resign him at the end of the season? And do you know if he has expressed interest in staying here as well? I think with the chance of Reggie retiring, after a 1st ballot hall of fame career, and not having a veterans presence outside of 3yr starter T.Y. it would be smart to keep him in the locker room for these purposes and I feel like he still has a lot of game left in him as well. Would love to keep him in Blue and White.

Thanks and Lets Go Colts! #COLTSTRONG

Bowen: As far as Herron, he made it pretty clear on Monday that the shoulder was nothing serious and he woke up feeling much better the day after the game. Herron logged 68 of the 75 offensive snaps, which is an incredibly high number for a running back. Even with a ton of questions at the running back position, it's hard to imagine Herron not having some sort of role in that backfield next year (attrition so frequent in the backfield). I do not know about any future talks with Nicks and the Colts. The wide receiver position doesn't have as many questions as the running back spot but the future of Wayne and Nicks are ones to watch. Nicks has made some really nice plays down the stretch and is starting to show everyone why the Colts coveted a player with his skillset in being able to make plays in the air.

Gregory Young (Burlington, Kentucky)

Hi, Kevin! ;) That was one of the most beautiful displays of TEAM work I've seen from the Indianapolis Colts since 2006! The DEFENSE played out of their minds! ;) The Colts had the Denver Broncos slammed up against the proverbial wall ALL day long! Andrew Luck and the ENTIRE offense made a statement to the rest of the league this past Sunday with an attitude of all out G-R-I-T !! ;)

Our next game, the CHAMPIONSHIP game, against Brady and the Patriots in New England can go the same way IF the grit factor is also present in that game as well. Kevin, it seems as though if the Colts can score another 24-26 points and play GREAT defense AGAIN ... would that lead us to the promised land ? Another query could also be a total shoot-out. What do you expect next Sunday in Foxboro, Kevin? ;)

Go COLTS ... Hammer-it home, baby! ;)

Bowen: While both teams have the ability to score well into the 30s, I think something in the 24-27 point range should be enough to win this game. In my opinion, these teams know each other too well for this to turn into a full-blown shootout. Just like against the Broncos, the Colts have to take full advantage of red zone chances and/or drives in opposing territory. The Colts were 3-of-4 in their red zone drives last week coming away with all 24 points on those chances. In the Colts/Patriots first meeting, New England was 5-for-5 in their red zone drives.

Howard Wills (Raleigh, NC)

Hey Kevin true Colts fan here. I just wanted to know what is it that the Patroits do to have success stoping the Colts run game? And do you think the Colts need to balance the time of possesion with NE to give them a higher chance to win this Championship game. They seem to always win when the time of possesion is even against opponents.

Bowen: It was a major struggle for the Colts run offense back in the Week 11 matchup with New England. Ahmad Bradshaw and Trent Richardson combined for just four rushing yards on 13 carries. In previous meetings with the Colts, it's clear that Bill Belichick has wanted to take away T.Y. Hilton and stop the run, which forces other proven pass catchers to make plays. The Colts have shown that the need for a run game isn't necessary so far in the playoffs. That doesn't mean they can't control the clock though. Andrew Luck has benefited from finding his check downs the last two weeks and that has allowed the Colts to get back to their time of possession lead they had so often early in the 2014.

Naija Hare (Indianapolis)

I was looking for the Colts pride link so I could print it out, but could not locate it. It was talked about on Fox 59 this morning. Can you help me. I'm a huge fan and just wanted to show my Colts Pride off!

Bowen: Naija, here is the link to the Colts Pride contest that you are referring to. Remember, that you can also pick up an AFC Championship poster and/or a Horseshoe magnent down at Lucas Oil Stadium on Thursday morning. Details for that is right here. All of this week's playoff events can be found here.

Davina Walton (Tulare, CA)

Any chance Rob Mathis can play this postseason? If healthy, which probably isn't realistic but IF, would he be allowed to play in say, the Super Bowl under league rules? Just curious. I'm ready to get it done with the healthy guys we have but 98 would be a huge boost!

Bowen: Davina, Mathis has been on the Colts Reserve/Non-Football injury list ever since October. He is still very active on Twitter and didn't hold back from sharing his enthusiasm during the Colts Divisional Round in on Sunday. As far as rehab for Mathis, the Achilles injury for him was thought to be a six-month rehab process. He injured it in early September.

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