INDIANAPOLIS – "It's the most important game because it's the next game."
Perhaps no phrase is more indicative of NFL jargon than the one above.
This sort of statement is heard week-after-week in all 32 NFL locker rooms.
Circumstances surrounding Week 15 of the Colts regular season has this message carrying extra, extra weight this week.
A loss for the Colts on Sunday afternoon wouldn't completely eliminate them from playoff consideration. It would though force the Colts to need plenty of help in the final two weeks of the regular season.
A win for the Colts over the Texans, plus another victory in Week 16 (at Miami) or Week 17 (vs. Tennessee), would keep the AFC South title in Indianapolis for a third straight season.
"The playoffs for this team starts now," Darius Butler said after Sunday's loss in Jacksonville.
"This has been our division in the past and it's going to be our division going forward. We are going to gather ourselves as men and players and see what guys step up and play down the stretch."
The Colts have won nine of 13 AFC South championships in the division's existence.
Since the AFC South was created in 2002, the Colts have beaten the Texans in Indianapolis on all 13 occasions.
If that happens again on Sunday, it will go a long way in the Colts capturing a 10th divisional crown.
"We have a great opportunity," Chuck Pagano said on Monday of what awaits his team Sunday afternoon at Lucas Oil Stadium.
"As bad as it may seem---the record, the ups, the downs, the ebbs and flows, the highs and lows, however you want to state it---we still have an opportunity to accomplish all our goals."
That starts Sunday, in what is about as close of a must-win game as a team can have in Week 15 of the regular season.
When the Colts gathered as a team on Monday, Pagano stood before them to explain the importance of what will take place come Sunday at 1:00 p.m.
"They understand the circumstances, we all do," Pagano says. "Playing at home, division rival, division game, division on the line, I don't know how you canNOT get up for this contest.
"These guys will show up, I promise you. They will prepare, they will work, and they will show up and they will play their butts off on Sunday."
A look behind the scenes at the Colts in Jacksonville.