The questions will run deep if the Indianapolis Colts do not beat the Jacksonville Jaguars to win the playoff spot

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INDIANAPOLIS – The performance at MVP level this season by running back Jonathan Taylor will not mean much. The same could be said about all the turnovers linebacker Darius Leonard forced this season. Also insert receiver Michael Pittman Jr.’s 1,000-yard receiving season.

Any positive performance from the Colts will basically become footnotes on their 2021 season if they lose to the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday (1 ET, CBS).

That’s because a loss would mean that Indianapolis’ season would end without a place in the playoffs and also give them fewer chances to win the many Super Bowl titles this decade, which owner Jim Irsay discussed back in October.

“We do not want to go that far for nothing,” said recipient TY Hilton. “We’re pretty much locked in. It’s easier to be motivated after a loss than it is to win. So we’re motivated. We do not like what we put on film in 2022. The only way to do that is to straighten out Jacksonville, where we have not done well. We just have to go out and play Colts football, and we’ll probably make it. “

The Colts scraped and settled for a record of 9-7 after starting the season 0-3 and then 1-4. They went through a stretch where they won eight out of 10 games to bring some buzz to the team that they are potentially Super Bowl challengers in the AFC.

Now the only thing that stands in the way of playing on the wild-card weekend or starting their offseason vacation early next week is the sad Jaguars, a team that has not lost to the Colts in Jacksonville since 2014.

Not only would the Colts be embarrassed to give the Jaguars (2-14) just their third win of the season, but questions about the roster will likely come into play with a loss.

Is Carson Wentz the long-term answer as a quarterback?

How will the Colts find their next starting left tackle without a first-round pick this season?

Is Hilton and tight-end Jack Doyle retired?

Will the Colts get help for Pittman from the receiver?

These issues will not go anywhere soon for the Colts. They would rather start worrying about them next month, not next week.

“We do not have a playoff spot,” Leonard said. “In the four years we’ve been here, we have not been past round 2. So I just do not want guys to fall into the trap when we were 1-4, everyone was talking down on us. So, when we went on that run, everyone started praising us.I feel like people felt they were accomplished and we did something.It’s not even that.

“So I’m just letting them know you’re getting one chance. It’s hard to get into the playoffs and it’s hard to win in this league. So we have to make sure we can control what we can control. It is just playing good, healthy football in all three phases and just dominating and being the best team out there on the pitch. “

A shift in focus is the last thing the Colts can afford. They paid the price for it in the days leading up to their week 17 game against the Las Vegas Raiders.

There were footage in this week’s ‘Hard Knocks’ episode on HBO of Leonard talking to his teammates via Zoom about their mistakes in practice. There was also a part of the episode where the usually gentle Frank Reich had a conversation with his players about the same thing. The Colts lost 23-20 to the Raiders, which prevented them from maintaining a playoff spot.

The Colts say it was last week and their focus this week has been greatly improved. It’s better because they have a playoff spot they want to lock in and a losing streak down in Jacksonville they want to finish.

“[Jacksonville’s] record has nothing to do with it, “said Colts safety Khari Willis.” They will try to ruin our season. We had not won down there, there is momentum for them to try to keep it alive. We feel that all our goals are right in front of us. We like to deal with it with a 1-0 mentality, but we can look back at some of the things we have come through and see what we are capable of achieving and going out and performing, but this is a individual play.

“They had a lot of guys out last week, or whatever, and they got some guys back late, but they will try to ruin our season. There’s no secret about that and we have not won down there. We got our hands on it. full and have businesses to take care of to get where we want to go. “

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