INDIANAPOLIS – The first day of 2017 will be rung in with the final game of the season for the Indianapolis Colts.
After firing Gus Bradley following Week 15, the Jaguars and interim head coach Doug Marrone will come to Indianapolis for a 1:00 p.m. EST kickoff this Sunday.
What are the key ingredients to victory, presented by Papa Johns, when the Colts (7-8) take on the Jaguars (3-12) in Week 17?
1. Reason To Compete
-The Colts aren't resting anyone this weekend. And they shouldn't with revenge on their minds. The Jaguars have beaten the Colts in their past two meetings. Those losses have played critical roles in the Colts missing out on the postseason. Personal pride alone should be enough for the Colts to compete at a high level in Week 17.
2. Offensive Line Streak
-Andrew Luck has gone 60 straight pass attempts without being sacked. The starting line: LT-Anthony Castonzo, LG-Jonotthan Harrison, C-Ryan Kelly, RG-Joe Haeg and RT-Le'Raven Clark hasn't given up a sack in the last two weeks. The line play, including improved lanes in the run game, will go into 2017 with the arrow pointing up.
3. Milestones In Reach
-Frank Gore is 37 yards away from 1,000. He would be the first Colt to do that since 2007. At the age of 33, Gore would be the NFL's first 1,000-yard rusher his age or older since 1984. T.Y. Hilton (1,353 yards) is the NFL's leading receiver. Odell Beckham and Julio Jones are both within 40 yards of Hilton for the league lead.
4. Mathis' Final Game?
-If Sunday is it for Mathis, what an incredible run. Mathis is 35 years old and will be a free agent in 2017. The Colts have to get younger at outside linebacker, but will that come at the expense of Mathis no longer being in Indy? No matter what Mathis decides, he will go down as one of the best pass rushers in NFL history.
5. Young Guys Lasting Impressions
-Can any of the younger players make a final, lasting impression before this team starts up OTAs next spring? Guys like Le'Raven Clark, Chester Rogers, Edwin Jackson, Antonio Morrison and T.J. Green have received bigger roles as of late. How the Colts view the 2017 outlook for Jackson and Morrison will really impact what the team does at inside linebacker next year.
6. Bill Polian's Ring Of Honor Induction
-At halftime of Sunday's season finale, former team president Bill Polian will enter the Ring of Honor. Polian was the architect for the greatest decade run in NFL history. Polian will be the 13th member of the Colts Ring of Honor and will go in the same year as the team's 10-year Super Bowl Anniversary.
7. Pending Free Agents
-When the season officially ends for the Colts on Sunday afternoon, they will have less than 70 days before free agency arrives on March 9. Some Colts to keep an eye on about to hit the open market: S-Mike Adams, CB/S-Darius Butler, TE-Jack Doyle, RB-Robert Turbin and OLB-Erik Walden.