Live in the moment. That’s the game plan for the Indianapolis Colts heading into this afternoon’s road game with the Cincinnati Bengals (1 p.m., CBS Sports).
With an 8-4 overall record and an AFC South mark of 4-0, the Colts can clinch the division title with a win at Paul Brown Stadium. Indianapolis can also annex the crown if Tennessee were to lose later this afternoon at Denver.
Any combination of a Colts win and Titans loss (or if each team were to tie their opponents) would lead to Indianapolis’ eighth AFC South championship since the division was formed in 2002.
“It’s our first goal that we have on the goal board, the goal sheet when we start the season. We all gather up at Anderson at training camp. To be able to accomplish that first goal and know that you’re in [the playoffs] certainly would be a tribute to our coaches and players, sacrifice and hard work that they put in,” Colts head coach Chuck Pagano said late last week.
The issue, though, is first things first. While winning the division is a major goal to accomplish, coming home tonight with a win over a very good Bengals team would certainly make for a nice bus ride back to Indianapolis.
In fact, winning its final four games of the regular season would set the Colts up well heading into the post-season.
“Certainly, [the AFC South championship] doesn’t let you let off the gas. Again, I talked before about somebody is going to get hot in the next month. December football is as you know very important. Again, these guys have done a great job of putting themselves in position, being relevant, being in the conversation. We’re not there yet,” Pagano voiced.
“We need a victory. We’re not counting on anybody else at this point. We control our own destiny. But once you get in, if we’re fortunate enough to have that happen, we don’t let off the gas. We don’t exhale. We just try to keep getting better week in and week out. Take it one week at a time and try to keep gathering steam.”