After Indy’s Week Nine win over the Dolphins, interim coach Bruce Arians said he’s hopeful the team makes the playoffs because there’s a chance coach Chuck Pagano could return from leukemia treatments by then.
Before the team’s Week 10 win over the Jaguars, Arians said in an NFL Network feature that the target is Week 17.
“[Pagano] and I have a hope that he’ll come out of the tunnel December 30 for our last home game coaching the team,” Arians said.
That last home game could be a big one. On December 30, the Colts host the Texans.
The Texans, by the way, never have won in Indianapolis. The Texans, by the way, will hold only a one-game lead over the Colts if the Texans lose on Sunday night at Chicago.
While few expect the Colts to challenge the Texans for the AFC South crown, the Colts will have two chances only two weeks apart to beat their division rivals. If Indy can stay within a game of the Texans through Week 14, the Colts could (key word: could) steal the division crown.
The fact that it’s even a remote possibility is amazing. But the Colts have tripled their win total from last year and, more importantly, doubled their victories from Peyton Manning’s rookie season. Regardless of how it turns out, they’ve already done more than most thought they’d do. With the genuine sense of team emerging from their coach’s illness, the Colts could still do a lot more.