With two games to go, the Colts are sitting in the AFC's No. 5 spot with a one-game lead over the Cincinnati Bengals.
Pagano's presence will likely be an emotional and psychological boost for the club at the ideal time.
With him returning so late the season after Bruce Arians filled in so admirably, the Colts will likely become the AFC's most enigmatic wild card come January.
Will Pagano's defensive insights help improve a defense that has allowed the 21st-most yards and 24th-most points this season?
What new wrinkles will he decide to add?
How will Arians perform with the club's offense as his sole responsibility?
Without clock-management concerns and other head coaching duties on his mind, could Arian make the playoff version of Andrew Luck be even better than regular season Andrew Luck?
Then again, maybe Arians was the ideal head man who made seemingly all the right calls at the right times and was instrumental to the various comebacks that aided the club's rise from the cellar in 2012.
While a split locker room is hard to envision, players have certainly established a connection with Arians this year, and now, he'll step down from the inherited position in which he flourished.
Everything could be the same when Pagano returns to the sidelines, or it could be drastically different—something that will keep the Colts' opposition guessing this postseason.