Note: The quotes in this article are fictional.
Indianapolis @ Jacksonville (+4)
With their 28-16 win over the Broncos last week, the Colts broke the NFL record for consecutive regular-season wins. Indy’s 22nd straight win eclipsed the Patriots number of 21, set last year. On Thursday, the Colts will face a Jacksonville team fighting to hold on to a wild-card playoff berth.
“We’re one of the few barriers standing between the Colts and perfection,” says Jack Del Rio. “And I know 27 people who will be wildly cheering for us to upset Indianapolis. No, I’m not talking about the surviving members of the 1972 Dolphins. I’m talking about our home crowd.”
“Anyway, slowing the Colts requires you to confuse Peyton Manning. He’s always a threat to change the play at the line. But does he really change the play, or are those wild gyrations and signals a bunch of baloney? We know Manning’s a ‘histrionics’ buff, but sometimes, I think his actions are nothing more that a histrionics bluff.”
Manning and the Colts are 13-0, and have clinched home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. Maintaining momentum is the order of business now.
“That’s right,” says Manning. “We’ve got our goals clearly in sight. You could say we have our ‘blinders’ on, but really, we’re wearing those so we can’t see a looming matchup with our playoff nemesis San Diego down the road.”
“As for the Jaguars, we know they, and their fans, will be fired up for this one. I hear the Jags have already announced a ‘sellout’ for the game. Now, does that mean all seats will be full, or does it mean I’m coming to town, because God knows, I’ve lent my name to the marketing of a number of products? You may have seen me in my latest shill job, the Sony HD commercial with Justin Timberlake. What’s so amazing about this ad? They’ve got me pushing product, and I don’t even have a speaking line! I thought about calling an ‘audible’ and dropping a clever line. Let’s face it. This commercial is not funny, and it just goes to show that Timberlake is only funny on Saturday Night Live.”
Jim Caldwell has stated that his “healthy” starters will play, a statement the ambiguity of which is almost as amazing as the fact that Caldwell actually said something.
After the Jaguars race to a 17-13 halftime lead, Manning and his cohorts spend halftime doing what most Indiana pro athletes do to get going—passing around a bottle of Hennessy. Unfortunately, they find it doesn’t quite work as well for them as it did for Ron Artest.
Jacksonville wins 26-24.