Indianapolis Colts head coach Frank Reich said Tuesday there will be games in which quarterback Carson Wentz will need to shine if his team is going to make the playoffs and ultimately win the Super Bowl.
"I think for us to go where we want to go, there are going to be games where Carson will be the quote-unquote star of the game," Reich told reporters. "I think that'll have to happen."
The Colts sit fifth in the AFC standings with an 8-6 record, but the crowded nature of the conference's playoff race leaves plenty of room for movement. The top-seeded Kansas City Chiefs (10-4) and 13th-seeded Denver Broncos (7-7) are separated by just three games with three weeks left in the regular season.
Reich and Co. face a tough test Saturday when they visit the Arizona Cardinals (10-4) for a prime-time game on Christmas Day and then wrap up the regular season with contests against the Las Vegas Raiders (7-7) and Jacksonville Jaguars (2-12).
Indy will likely need to win at least two of those games to reach the postseason.
Wentz has put together a solid first season with the Colts after spending the first five years of his career with the Philadelphia Eagles. He's completed 62.7 percent of his throws for 3,005 yards with 23 touchdowns and six interceptions in 14 games.
He's rarely been asked to carry the offense on his shoulders, though. The unit has leaned heavily on running back Jonathan Taylor, who's vaulted himself into the MVP discussion by leading the NFL in both yards from scrimmage (1,854) and total touchdowns (19).
Taylor's dominance means opponents are going to stack the box with eight or nine defenders on the early downs and force Wentz to beat them.
Reich, who noted his quarterback has "had many good games," believes the passing game can lead the Colts to victory if called upon.
"What I really mean is I've just got a lot of confidence in Carson," he said. "I have a lot of confidence in our skill players and I have a lot of confidence in the way we protect the passer. And I have a lot of confidence in our offensive coaching staff the way we scheme things up to help the players."
Saturday's clash with the Cardinals could be a major test of the aerial attack. Arizona features one of the league's most explosive offenses, led by quarterback Kyler Murray, and it'll be looking to bounce back after a forgettable performance in the loss to the Detroit Lions (2-11-1) in Week 15.
If Wentz does elevate his game when called upon, the Colts have the other pieces in place, with the Taylor-led ground game and the league's ninth-ranked scoring defense, to become a serious threat in the AFC.