INDIANAPOLIS –Mid-week Kansas City quarterback Brady Quinn said the Chiefs do not look to play "spoilers" when the Colts visit on Sunday.
The approach is to play the game professionally. Indianapolis knows that role well, and it was as recent as last year.
On December 18 of last season, 7-6 Tennessee visited the 0-13 Colts with playoff aspirations firmly in place.
Indianapolis was playing for pride. Players were playing for each other and in front of their fans, a sellout crowd that numbered 64,271. The numbers after the game – Colts 27, Tennessee 13.
A win or tie for Indianapolis on Sunday clinches a post-season berth and would make the Colts only the third team in 30 years to make the playoffs after losing at least 14 games the previous season.
Veterans did not need ancient history to reach newcomers, they just pointed to last year.
"I really feel like Kansas City is going to do like we did. Last year at this time, we didn't quit. We still wanted to go out and win. We still wanted to do everything you have to do to get a 'W,' " said Reggie Wayne. "We're professionals. Nobody wants to continue to lose every week, even when you know you're not in the hunt.
"I expect Kansas City to be ready. They're playing at home, in front of their fans. I really feel like they're going to give us everything they've got. There's no quit in that team. The record does not indicate the team they are. We have to be ready. We know what's at stake. They know what's at stake. We have to find a way to win on the road."
For the teaching session, Bruce Arians only watched.
"The veteran guys reminded all the younger guys about what they did to Tennessee last year. They were in the same boat and beat them and played the role of spoiler," said Arians. "Pros are going to show up and play. You don't have to get our guys ready for Kansas City. We have to be at our best game to beat these guys."
Arians on Friday ruled out safety Tom Zbikowski after saying earlier in the week there was a chance he could play. Zbikowski joins center Samson Satele, running back Delone Carter and linebacker Kavell Conner as those out with injuries.
Center A.Q. Shipley is possible to play after being hurt in the late stages of the Houston game last Sunday. Shipley and a couple of other players will be game-time decisions. Guard Mike McGlynn could move over if Shipley is out, and Jeff Linkenbach could play at guard if that happens.
For a line that has had six different starting alignments and numerous in-game adjustments in 14 games, Arians said picking names out of a hat and assigning spots that way could be possible.
"(We play) pretty much who's available. They've all played about four or five different positions now. It's that time of year," said Arians. "Mike McGlynn has worked a lot this week and has played a bunch of center. We'll go that way. All those guys will be game-time decisions. They all worked this week, and we'll see how strong they are."
Arians is 8-3 in an interim capacity for Chuck Pagano, who left the team in late September to fight leukemia.
Pagano could return as soon as Monday. If so, Arians would get a Christmas gift early.
"It's fantastic. We'll wait and see," Arians said of Pagano's possible return. "Hopefully, he's strong enough and can hit the road Monday. Like we said, that's always going to be the best Christmas present we can ask for. It's still up in the air, but he feels pretty solid that he's ready to go.
"Once that he decides he's coming back and he's full bore, that's what it is and he's ready to go. He's not going to come back unless he's ready to go. He knows what this grind is, and what we're getting into. He knows he's ready if he comes back."
Wayne has known Pagano longer than any Colt. The two crossed paths at the University of Miami, and a possible return is exciting for Wayne.
"I think the whole locker room is excited. We all dreamed of this day happening," said Wayne. "Hopefully, we can keep our plans going forward. That's to extend the season for him. To get that done, we have to win this week."
Wayne is not surprised at the fight in Pagano to defeat the illness. He always has drawn inspiration from his coach. If the club can make the playoffs, Wayne would find having Pagano patrolling the sidelines truly memorable.
"I think it would be real special," said Wayne. "He's our leader. He's our general. To get him back, I think it would be picture-perfect. He's been through some tough times, and he's fought through it.
"He's made us fight. He taught us how to fight. To have him back in front of us for a playoff game, I think that would be great. It would even be greater if we continue to win."