The NFL Network and every AFC team competing for a Wild Card spot just got an early Christmas present.
Colts coach Jim Caldwell said at his press conference Monday in no uncertain terms that the team would treat this Thursday’s game against Jacksonville “exactly” like the previous thirteen.
“We’re going to play ball and approach it like we do every week,” Caldwell said. “The only thing that will deter anyone from playing time is a health issue.”
Caldwell didn’t appear to be leaving himself wiggle room by mentioning the health issue. He was clear throughout his press conference he wanted to “maintain rhythm” by continuing to play to win.
We suspect that the Colts organization didn’t adopt this approach because they were reading Florio. The Colts have traditionally rested starters early, but they have never clinched homefield advantage with three full games remaining.
Starting to rest now would mean five weeks between meaningful games. Caldwell wouldn’t promise anything about next week’s game.
“That’s all I’m going to deal with is this week. I’m not going to look beyond this game. That’s served us well,” Caldwell said.
Even if it only lasts another week, Caldwell’s decision also serves the league well.
The NFL Network game is far more attractive now, and the Jaguars won’t get a competitive advantage over other playoff contenders.