INDIANAPOLIS – After a week that started with 12 players missing Wednesday's practice, the Colts have ruled four players OUT for Sunday against Cleveland.
With a Colts win on Sunday, plus a loss from Houston in Jacksonville, Indianapolis will clinch the AFC South for a second straight season.
Here's a rundown of what Chuck Pagano and Reggie Wayne had to say to the media on Friday:
Chuck Pagano on not having Vontae Davis against Cleveland:
"We've been there before, so we've got capable guys that have practiced well this week in Josh Gordy, Jalil Brown. It is what it is.
"In a pinch, Colt Anderson's come in in a game and had to play in a special package. We've got a bunch of guys that understand and know the system and the package, so they can go in and play at a high level"
Bowen's Analysis: The Colts will be without arguably the game's top cornerback on Sunday in Cleveland. When Davis has missed time this season, the Colts defense has clearly not been the same aggressive unit.
In Cleveland wide receiver Josh Gordon, the Colts will see a receiver who led the NFL in receiving yards in just 14 games last season. Gordon has been targeted 29 times in the last two weeks, and you have to expect that number will be well into the double figures on Sunday with Davis out of the lineup.Chuck Pagano on the possibility of clinching the AFC South this weekend:
"The biggest thing is just going and playing well, getting the win, and then whatever happens after that happens after that. We're just going to try to continue to play our best football in the month of December."
Bowen's Analysis: The Colts are the only team in the NFL that has a chance to clinch a division crown this weekend. If the Colts win in Cleveland and Houston loses in Jacksonville, Indianapolis will repeat as division champs, thus clinching a home game in the playoffs.
Pagano gave the typical answer you would expect from any coach/player. He also talked about the need to get hot down the stretch and that could pay bigger dividends with the Colts still in the hunt for a potential bye sitting at 8-4, just a game behind New England and Denver.Reggie Wayne on adding another outside threat in Donte Moncrief:
"That's been the whole mindset from the beginning.
"We have something that a lot of teams don't have. We have a little depth."
Bowen's Analysis: In past months, Moncrief might have been an afterthought on most scouting reports but that's no longer the case. His rise will only create more havoc for opposing defenses trying to prepare for the Colts.
All year long Wayne has been steadfast in saying this Colts skill group is the deepest assortment he's seen in 14 seasons. That will once again be counted on this weekend with Dwayne Allen back in the mix. If Cleveland cornerback Joe Haden locks down T.Y. Hilton, that will open the chances for several other playmakers to emerge.INJURY NOTES
Here is the Colts final injury report of the week:
-OUT- Vontae Davis (concussion), Xavier Nixon (foot), Andy Studebaker (hamstring) and Hugh Thornton (knee).
-Nixon, Studebaker and Thornton will miss for a second straight week. Look for Joe Reitz to once again start at right guard in place of Thornton
-QUESTIONABLE- Mike Adams (back), Jalil Brown (ankle) and Josh Cribbs (knee).
-After not practicing on Wednesday and Thursday, former Browns' Adams and Cribbs participated on Friday.
-PROBABLE- Dwayne Allen (ankle), Jonotthan Harrison (illness), T.Y. Hilton (hamstring), Arthur Jones (illness), Zach Kerr (illness), Lance Louis (illness), Cory Redding (knee) and Erik Walden (knee).
-After missing the last two weeks, Dwayne Allen will return to the lineup.