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Published:December 16th, 2009 15:21 EST
The Colts and Saints Face Must Wins in Week 15

The Colts and Saints Face Must Wins in Week 15

By Geoff Dean

 In his excellent op-ed piece, " `07 Patriots did everyone a huge favor", Michael Silver, a sports columnist for Yahoo! makes what I believe to be a very valid point when he states that the "annoying 2007 Patriots" should be thanked for shutting up the "chest-thumping" 1972 Dolphins. After all, they were kind enough to reduce the Dolphins` previously unchallenged feat of a perfect season a few notches (the Pats went 18-0 while the Dolphins only got to 17-0 including playoffs and Super Bowl). And then they had the added decency to lose the Super Bowl and spare us the sight of an equally unseemly "chest-thumping" 2007 Patriots.

 Still, I must disagree with his comment that "You don`t hear anyone suggesting the Colts or Saints should lose on purpose" because the pressure of a perfect season has become so much less. I, of course, would never suggest that any team should lose on purpose, but as a Colts` fan, I have recommended that they lose sooner rather than later. I assume the same would hold true for the Saints.

 No one listens to me and so both teams have put themselves between a rock and hard place. As I write this, they have both gone 13-0, although not for lack of trying. The Saints have looked especially shaky the last few weeks while the Colts have looked pretty shaky throughout. A couple of bad breaks and the Colts could well be 7-6 as surely as they are 13-0.

 As a Colts` fan, I have experienced 13-0 once before and it was nice while it lasted (six days). After that, the deluge! The Colts lost two of their last three, had an unwanted bye week, and got busted out of the playoffs by the Steelers in short order.

 The situation is quite eerily similar for the two 13-0 teams this week. Both will be the top seeds in their respective conferences (OK, the Saints haven`t officially clinched that yet but give me a break!) They have nothing to play for the rest of the way out except perfection. And in Week 15, they face their strongest remaining challenges. The Saints host the playoff probable if December-challenged Cowboys and the Colts travel to the off and on Jaguars. If both perfect teams win, they have a better than fifty-fifty shot of going all the way, in my humble and crumbled opinion.

 If they lose however, they face two meaningless games against mediocre teams, probably resting a number of starters. Followed by a bye. In other words, their playoff opponent will come in a playoff win and a head of steam while the Colts and Saints will come in with a month`s worth of rust. That is exactly what happened to the last 13-0 Colts. They played out the schedule and rested most of the starters, after the Week 15 loss to the Chargers, with Jim Sorge at the helm instead of Manning in a couple of meaningless games, then took an extra week`s rest (called a bye, as in "bye bye"), and came into the playoffs extremely flat. They faced off against a Steelers team that fought their way into the playoffs, ousted the Bengals on the road in the wild card game, and were red hot.

 If the Colts and/or Saints win in Week 15, then Week 16 and probably Week 17 will have a lot of meaning and excitement. If not, I am willing to predict that neither team will be in the Super Bowl. Both teams waited too late to lose and now they had better just keep on winning. (Of course, losing in Week 17 might not be so terrible if the teams have been perfect to that point!) Make sense?