The Colts have won back-to-back games to fall into a tie with the Vikings and Rams for the league’s worst record and the chance to take Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck with the No. 1 pick.
With Peyton Manning out for the year with a neck injury, the Colts lost their first 13 games of the season, and most figured Luck could start looking for an Indy-based realtor.
Then a funny thing happened – the Colts started winning.
The Colts beat Tennessee two weeks ago for their first win of the season. No big deal, right? They still had a game on two-win teams in Minnesota and St. Louis and didn’t have to deal with the ignominy of going winless for an entire season.
Vikings fans were already dreaming of Southern Cal offensive tackle Matt Kalil coming in to protect Christian Ponder and clear a path for Adrian Peterson. With Sam Bradford under center, Rams fans were drooling over the prospects of bringing in Oklahoma State’s Justin Blackmon as the stud receiver he’s been missing early in his career.
Then the Colts went out and won on Thursday night against the playoff-bound Texans.
What were they thinking?
That was some of the outcry heard from fans and pundits after the victory, which many view as jeopardizing the franchise’s long-term health by risking losing out on another All-Pro caliber quarterback in Luck to eventually replace the face of the franchise, albeit one who will turn 36 in March and has had multiple neck surgeries over the past two seasons.
All of a sudden some Colts fans – particularly those who were showing up to Lucas Oil Stadium with blue No. 12 jerseys that had “Luck” written on the back – have an entirely different pain in their necks.
“That’s not for the players to worry about,” Colts running back Joseph Addai said. “I don’t worry about that. I just go out and keep playing ball.”
Now all three teams are tied for the fewest wins in the league, with the Vikings and Rams still to play this weekend.
Minnesota has lost six in a row and plays at Washington on today before playing host to Chicago in the season finale on Jan. 1. The Rams figure to have a tough time in Pittsburgh today and with San Francisco at home to end the season.
The Colts hold the strength-of-schedule tiebreaker over Minnesota and St. Louis. So a loss at Jacksonville next week would clinch the No. 1 pick for Indianapolis.
But the Jaguars haven’t exactly been hitting their stride as the season wears on, so a win is possible.