INDIANAPOLIS – When the Colts take the field on Sunday, the urgency of a must-win type game won't be there.
The Colts currently sit just one game back in the AFC South.
They've faced some "must-win" sort of games already in 2016, and have delivered.
-An 0-2 start forced the Colts into such a game in Week Three versus San Diego.
-Losing in London brought the Colts' record to 1-3, leading to a "have to have" contest at home against the Bears and their backup quarterback Brian Hoyer.
-Then last week in Tennessee, the Colts had to get their first divisional win of 2016 after they let one get away the previous week in Houston.
This week doesn't bring the same sort of drama, but the Colts need to continue to play with a desperation mode if they want to have their first winning streak of 2016.
"The fight for consistency is a focus," Andrew Luck said earlier this week. "It absolutely is. We know that and we know we have to put games together, winning games together, positive games together.
"That's certainly one of the goals, obviously the main goal being winning. Part of that is to put good consecutive games together."
If the Colts are going to achieve that, they have to eliminate the self-inflicted issues.
In each of the last two games, the Colts have watched two-score leads wilt away, leading to continued dramatic finishes.
Penalties remain one of the biggest issues translating to the inconsistent play.
"We're not even halfway through the season, and I don't think we even have any toes left to shoot off our foot," Robert Mathis!(/team/roster/robert-mathis/5d29904b-7bec-41ee-9307-af5b707a681e/ "Robert Mathis") said on his weekly radio show this week.
Over the next eight weeks the Colts will see six teams currently in the playoffs.
The Chiefs are one of those teams.
Last year Kansas City started the season 1-5 before rattling off 10 in a row and earning a Wild Card berth.
That sort of turnaround and finish to a season is something Chuck Pagano has pointed out to his team this week.
"It's a long season, it's a marathon and that is why you keep preparing and you keep working," Pagano said.
"Some things happen, the ball starts to bounce your way, you might get some guys back healthy, a number of things and things start clicking and you win a couple games in a row and get on a roll. There is nothing like momentum, so it's a great example for our guys."**
INTERESTING MATCHUPSChiefs secondary versus the Colts passing game: **The NFL's most opportune secondary will see an offense coming off a very fine day through the air. Andrew Luck could also have Donte Moncrief back this weekend, which would be big considering Kansas City has taken away tight ends very well in 2016. Chiefs corner Marcus Peters on T.Y. Hilton is a matchup pairing two of the league's best players at their respective positions. Peters typically lines up on the left side of the defense.
Colts defensive front versus Chiefs running back Spencer Ware: Even with Jamal Charles at nowhere near his normal level, the Chiefs are still relying heavily on a lead back. It's Spencer Ware and his 129.5 yards from scrimmage per game this season are third in the NFL. The Colts' run game has struggled in recent weeks and the defensive front will be without Henry Anderson and Kendall Langford this weekend.
- The Colts are one of six NFL teams to have every game be within one score at some point of the fourth quarter this season.
- The Colts rank 1st in the NFL with 18 drives of at least 10 plays this season.
- Of the NFL's 40 tight ends with at least 11 targets this season, Jack Doyle has the highest catch percentage (87.9 percent, 29-of-33).
- The Chiefs are 14-2 in their last 16 regular season games, the best mark in the NFL.
- The Chiefs lead the NFL with 10 interceptions and five red-zone turnovers forced this season.
- Former Colts linebacker Sio Moore signed with the Chiefs two weeks ago. Moore has been inactive for the last two weeks.
NOTABLE QUOTESColts Head Coach Chuck Pagano(on the play of Kansas City's defense):
"Coach (Bob) Sutton does a great job with those guys. They're very sound, well coached, disciplined, they fly around to the football, a combination of things. They make it really hard to run the football and when you get into the throwing situations, obviously playing from the lead and you can cut guys loose, but guys are good athletes back there. (Marcus) Peters is a great player and there's a reason he was voted defensive rookie of the year last year. He's leading the league in interceptions right now. I think they have 10 on the year so far and lead the league in that category. They're plus-seven as a team, turnover margin. Again, they do a great job. They execute and they're on the same page and even though they're missing some of their guys, guys have stepped up and have done a nice job of filling in and they're playing winning football. They have two safeties that are obviously outstanding. (Eric) Berry and (Ron) Parker are a great tandem. The corners are good players and it's the front. The front puts pressure on the quarterback, they force you into bad plays and guys hustling and breaking on the ball they all happen for a reason."
Colts Head Coach Chuck Pagano(on Andrew Luck playing at such a high level right now):
"Andrew is playing really good football for us right now. Of course he missed a ton of time as we all know last year. Having to sit out nine weeks, he learned a lot and had time to sit back and reflect if you will and realize the availability is one of the key components to being a great quarterback in this league. He's managing the game well, he's making great decisions, he's going to have to do a lot of the same come Sunday against this football team. A very good football team with a great defense. He's taking what the defense gives him, he's taking care of the football and he's doing a lot of little things really good right now. There are a lot of guys around him. The offensive line is getting better, skill guys are making plays for him and protection is getting better. They're working really hard at it. He's working really hard at it and he's doing a nice job right now."
Colts Wide Receiver Donte Moncrief(on returning to action this week):
"I'm ready. I'm ready to get that contact so I can get going. I miss playing. I miss being out there with my brothers and miss helping the team."
Chiefs Head Coach Andy Reid(on the progression of Andrew Luck):
"The important thing is that he keeps firing, right? He hasn't pulled back or hesitated or gotten shy. He keeps firing and then he learns from his mistakes and if he's willing to do that and you're smart and you have talent then normally things are going to work out, you're going to be a pretty good quarterback. He understands that. His dad was a good player, he's a good player. He worked through all that stuff that every quarterback kind of goes through and he's playing good football right now."
Chiefs Quarterback Alex Smith(on the Wild Card loss in Indianapolis during the 2013 season):
"For us, I think it's something that the guys that are here still use, try to use as an example. You can still turn on that tape in the third quarter and the fourth quarter and there's a point where you look at the scoreboard and we somehow lost that game and just try to use it as a teaching example and keeping your edge all the way through the end, finishing. Obviously, to jump out like that and to not finish it off, it was tough looking back at it."
Chiefs Quarterback Alex Smith(on his evaluation of Vontae Davis this season):
"Yeah, I think he's playing good, playing good out there and been dependable. (He) locks up whether he is pressing man or playing in zone. He knows what he's doing and he's playing fast and he's done a really good job at it. (He's) been very productive and been efficient out there I think. He's a guy that doesn't get a lot of attention or headlines with a lot of the corners in the league, but he's a guy that's certainly playing at a really high level."