INDIANAPOLIS – The Colts wrapped up their final practice of the week with another outdoor session, under beautiful skies, on Friday morning.
The major news of the week comes with Arthur Jones returning to practice and being listed as questionable on the week's final injury report.
Here's a rundown of what Chuck Pagano had to say on Friday, plus the week's final injury report.
Chuck Pagano on the implications of Sunday's game for both team:
"We know how tough this game is going to be and how physical this game is going to be.
"It's going to be a heavyweight fight so that's what we are wrapping our minds around now."
Bowen's Analysis: It's been 10 days since the Colts last hit the playing field as they currently hold a one-game lead in the AFC South. Sunday pits two division leaders that are looking to return to the playoffs.
Winners of four straight, the Colts have a chance (with a win on Sunday) to record their longest winning streak since the 2009 season. The more important point though is what a win could potentially do for this team. A win would maintain pace near the top of the AFC, push down a current contender and possibly extend the Colts lead in the division.
Chuck Pagano on trying to defend Bengals running back Giovani Bernard:
"He's a really good football player. He's a good runner. He's a good blocker. He's a great third-down back. He will step up and pick up blitzes.
"He's a dynamic football player. We've got our hands full just getting him on the ground in the run game and he can beat you in a lot of other ways."
Bowen's Analysis: When the Bengals took the dynamic Bernard in the second round of the 2011 draft it was thought to be a bit of a steal for an offense looking for an electric back. In each of the last two seasons, Bernard has averaged more than five yards per carry and has caught 92 total passes.
Bernard is going to be the key weapon for the Bengals on offense with many playmakers in the receiving game sidelined. The Colts saw Texans running back Arian Foster touch the ball 23 times on Thursday night and I would expect Bernard to challenge that number, something many opposing backs haven't done this year against Indianapolis.Chuck Pagano on having a healthy offensive line this Sunday:
"It doesn't really matter at this time who's in there because they have played well and they all know what to do.
"From a continuity standpoint, would you like to have the same five guys in there, week in and week out? Yeah. Fortunately for us, we've got a lot of guys that can play, and play at a high level."
Bowen's Analysis: The possible return of the Colts starting guards comes at a nice time. Bengals defensive tackle Geno Atkins is one of the game's top interior linemen. The current makeup of the Colts line looks to be the starting group going forward.
However, a commendable job should go to Lance Louis and Joe Reitz for their fill-in duty. The Colts are starting to create some quality depth across the offensive line and that might get deeper with tackle Xavier Nixon returning to practice this week.
Here is the Colts final injury report of the week:
-OUT- Darius Butler (ankle)
-For the second straight week, the Colts will be without their nickel cornerback who normally plays more than half of the defensive snaps.
-QUESTIONABLE- Arthur Jones (ankle)
-Jones will be the one to watch on Sunday's inactive list. The good news for him was being a full participant at Friday's practice.
-PROBABLE- Mike Adams (ankle), Gosder Cherilus (knee), Jack Mewhort (ankle) and Hugh Thornton (back).
-It looks like the Colts have a good chance of getting their starting offensive guards back in the lineup after missing last week.