Indianapolis Colts interim coach/offensive coordinator Bruce Arians is quite aware that the Buffalo Bills are coming into Sunday’s game at Lucas Oil Stadium (1 p.m. kickoff, CBS Sports) facing a do-or-die situation in regard to the postseason.
Buffalo snapped a four-game losing streak last week with a 19-14 Thursday night win over Miami, improving its record to 4-6 for the season. The Bills remain in contention for an AFC wild-card berth, but just barely.
Indianapolis and the Pittsburgh Steelers are the current leaders for those wild-card spots with identical 6-4 marks. Arians told his team this week that the Colts had better approach Sunday’s game with the same “must-win” mentality as Buffalo’s players are expected to display.
“This is a playoff game. This is a playoff game for us. We have to take that approach because Buffalo is taking that approach. They’re do-or-die; we better be do-or-die. That’s been our mindset all week,” the veteran NFL assistant said Friday.
Wide receiver Reggie Wayne was quick to agree.
“Probably from here on out, every game is going to be a playoff game. We are in a position now where if we win out, we’re in. There are a lot of teams that want our position,” Wayne noted. “They are going to treat every game like a playoff game and we need to do the same. Every game from now on is going to be real crucial for this ballclub.”
The Colts can’t afford to be caught scoreboard watching either.
“I’m not really looking at none of it. I’m just looking at us. I just know if we take care of [us], we’re fine. That’s to keep winning games. The more we win, the better our opportunity,” Wayne added. “I don’t think anybody in this lockerroom should look at who’s in front of us and who’s behind us. Just play Colts football and win games and we’ll be fine.
“This is the journey that all teams want to take. This is the approach that we wanted. We wanted to give ourselves a chance. Once you get to the dance, anything can happen. We are just going to continue this journey, continue to ride this ship and at the end of the day see where our chips fall.”
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n Arians not looking — With the success that the Colts have had so far this season, it’s not surprising that the team’s interim coach might find his name on some NFL head-coaching search lists at some point.
Arians, though, isn’t thinking about those possibilities right now.
“I don’t even think about it. For me, it’s still a day-to-day process just like the players. If I ask the players to stay within the moment, you better stay in there yourself,” he said Friday. “We’ll cross those bridges, if there are bridges to cross, someday. Right now, it’s just the Buffalo Bills.”
n Injury list — The Colts are expected to have wide receiver Donnie Avery (concussion), free safety Antoine Bethea (ankle), running back Donald Brown (knee), nose tackle Josh Chapman (knee), quarterback Andrew Luck (knee) and cornerback Teddy Williams (hamstring) all available to play against the Bills on Sunday.
Tight end Coby Fleener (shoulder) and defensive end Cory Redding (hip) are questionable. Cornerback Vontae Davis (knee) is doubtful.
Avery, Bethea, Brown, Chapman, Luck, Redding and Williams all fully practiced Friday. Fleener was limited. Davis did not participate.
n Tickets available — The Bills returned more than 300 tickets for Sunday’s game.
Tickets are available while they last at the Lucas Oil Stadium ticket office, Ticketmaster ticket centers, charge-by-phone at 1-800-745-3000 or online at www.ticketmaster.com.