INDIANAPOLIS – Week 16 of the 2014 season is upon the Indianapolis Colts.
The Colts were indoors for practice on Wednesday as they prepare for the NFC East-leading Dallas Cowboys on Sunday afternoon.
Here are a few sound bites from Chuck Pagano and Andrew Luck on Wednesday:
Chuck Pagano on the challenge of this week:
"It's going to be a heckuva a challenge to see exactly where we're at."
Bowen's Analysis:* *This question/answer was a popular theme inside the Indiana Farm Bureau Football Center on Wednesday. Dallas provides quite the challenge on Sunday in a home contest they really need to secure the NFC East.
Defensively, the Colts will see an offensive line Pagano calls the best Indy has seen up to this point. The Colts run defense has limited some of the game's better running backs the last few weeks however, no one in the NFC is playing at the level of DeMarco Murray. The Colts have clinched the AFC South, but what they see on Sunday is exactly the type of team/atmosphere they will have to conquer come January.
Chuck Pagano on playing three safeties the past few weeks:
"They've made it work because of who they are. They've accepted their role and understand their roles."
Bowen's Analysis: A position with endless questions this offseason has turned into a strength in 2014. With Mike Adams starting and the rotation of Sergio Brown/LaRon Landry next to him, the Colts safeties have played at a high level, particularly over the last few weeks.
You rarely see a rotation of safeties in the NFL but the Colts have made it work since Landry has returned from his suspension. Adams talked today about how he now understands both safeties and their style of play, which has allowed the Colts to use three guys at the back end. The Cowboys are one of the league's most explosive teams offensively so those guys will be tested on Sunday.Andrew Luck on facing a 10-4 Cowboys team this weekend:
"It's fun to play teams that are fighting for something. There's a lot of magnitude to this game.
"That's a good football team."
Bowen's Analysis: For the third straight week, the Colts will face a desperate football team that basically needs a win to keep their playoff hopes alive. It's a road environment for the Colts and Jerry's World is actually where the Cowboys have lost all four of their games this year.
On Wednesday, Luck reiterated the need to get off to better starts down the stretch. He knows that a fast start doesn't correlate directly to a win but it certainly helps. Since Week Six, the Colts haven't scored a touchdown in the first quarter in six red zone trips and are just 5-of-28 on third downs. The Colts will have chances in two road venues the last two weeks to get back to the fast starting team we saw in the first six games of 2014.
Here is the injury report for Wednesday:
-DNP- Gosder Cherilus (groin), Josh Cribbs (rest), Vontae Davis (groin), T.Y. Hilton (hamstring) D'Qwell Jackson (rest), Joe Reitz (ankle), Hugh Thornton (knee) and Erik Walden (knee).
-Hilton didn't elaborate too much on his hamstring injury when talking to the media on Wednesday other than saying if he was 60-70 percent, he would be on the field Sunday. Pagano, who ultimately has the final say on Hilton's availability for Sunday, is "hopeful" to have the Colts leading receiver in Dallas.