With the No. 1 draft pick on the line if the Indianapolis Colts were to lose Sunday at Jacksonville, it's easy to see why a lot of the team's fans wouldn't mind seeing the team fall to the Jaguars.
To be able to get the top pick and perhaps select Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck is awfully tempting.
The idea of having both four-time league MVP Peyton Manning and Luck on the roster together for the next couple of seasons appeals to many of the Colts' faithful.
But when the topic is brought up to Colts players and coaches, the idea of losing in order to gain an advantage in the draft, the response is to be expected.
"I understand it from (the fans') perspective. They're looking at it and wanting the first pick. I don't care what pick we get," defensive end Dwight Freeney said this week.
"I don't care if we have no first-round picks. I don't care. I go out there, I play hard every day. I let those who make those (draft) decisions worry about it. Those who play, we're worrying about playing, playing hard and kind of let the chips fall where they fall."
Tight end Dallas Clark, who has been sidelined with a neck burner for the last two weeks, wants to end the season on a strong note.
Clark has battled a broken fibula as well as the neck burner this year. He had a broken bone in his wrist and hand which caused him to miss most of the 2010 campaign.
So when given the chance to come back and play this week against Jacksonville, the decision was an easy one.
"Why come back and play? You love playing the game. You can't play this game forever. And if you're healthy, you take every advantage of (playing)," Clark explained.
"It doesn't matter what the score is and it doesn't matter what kind of season you're having. The bottom line is that you love to play the game and you want to end the season on a positive note."
Defensive end Robert Mathis and wide receiver Reggie Wayne are in the last years of their current contracts with the Colts. Their futures with the team could very well be determined by how well they play and what happens against the Jaguars.
"We want to be in the playoffs. But we're not there. So we still have a lot to prove," Mathis said.
SERIES HISTORY: 22nd regular-season meeting. Colts lead series, 15-6. The Jaguars have posted wins in two of the last three matchups. Indianapolis, though, has won four of the past six and six of the past 10 meetings. The Colts have a 7-3 record against Jacksonville in road games. Six of the last eight games have been decided by a touchdown or less. Seven of the last eight meetings have been decided by 10 points or less.
--The Colts have never been swept by an AFC South opponent since the division came into existence in 2002. The Titans and Texans fell the last two weeks and Jacksonville is up next.
"I think it is something that (Indy's players) have been really focused on and working hard to make certain that it doesn't happen," Caldwell said.
--With Minnesota winning last Saturday against Washington, it's down to the Colts and the Rams as to who will get the No. 1 pick in the 2012 NFL draft. But draft positioning is the farthest thing from the mind of the Colts.
"I do not (worry about it). My job is to win ballgames, plain and simple," coach Jim Caldwell said.
--Caldwell has a 3-2 career head coaching record against Jacksonville. Jaguars interim coach Mel Tucker has never faced Indianapolis in his current role with the team.
--QB Dan Orlovsky has completed 34-of-58 passes for 326 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions over the past two weeks in wins over Tennessee and Houston. Orlovsky has a 95 passer rating in the fourth quarter as a Colts starter in 2011.
--RB Joseph Addai had two rushing touchdowns in his last meeting at Jacksonville.
--WR Reggie Wayne needs 113 receiving yards to reach 1,000 for the eighth consecutive season. Wayne has 887 receiving yards this season. Wayne has 1,599 receiving yards against the Jaguars, the most against any opponent. Wayne has caught two touchdown passes in his last two games, wins over AFC South rivals Tennessee and Houston.
--WR Pierre Garcon needs 75 receiving yards to reach 1,000 for the first time in his NFL career. Garcon has six touchdown receptions this year, which ties his single-season best (2010).
--WR Austin Collie has hauled in four touchdown receptions in his past four meetings with the Jaguars.
--DE Dwight Freeney has recorded nine career sacks against Jacksonville.
--Jim Caldwell on Jaguars running back Maurice Jones-Drew: "He is extremely tough, and that is the thing that jumps out at you, he just keeps going. Obviously, he is leading the league in rushing right now for a reason, because he is durable, he's tough, he's tenacious and all of the skills that God has gifted him with, in terms of his balance, power, speed and he can catch out of the backfield. He's a tough, tough competitor."
--Caldwell on how the Jaguars have changed under interim head coach Mel Tucker: "They still look like a pretty talented team that has good, young players, the leading rusher in the league and (they are) still playing good, solid defense. Often times, you can see in the games that there is just (a small) difference between ending up on the positive or negative side of the ledger. They are still just as dangerous in every single phase, so I think they've gotten better to be honest with you."
BY THE NUMBERS: 1 -- DE Dwight Freeney is the Colts' lone Pro Bowl selection this year. It's the seventh time in Colts franchise history that only one player was selected to the Pro Bowl (1973, 1974, 1979, 1983, 1994, 1997, 2011).
QUOTE TO NOTE: "We try to cover those things as long as they come in the context of trying to win the game, that is kind of how we look at them. But I am aware of them, and the guys know that I'm aware, because we do a thing we call 'milestones.' We talk about where guys are and rankings, in terms of career rankings here on our team. Those are important to them and, certainly, important to me as well, but like I said, we would like to be able to get them in the context of winning the game. I think that is key." - Coach Jim Caldwell on trying to help several Colts players reach personal goals during the course of Sunday's game at Jacksonville.
STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
It's assumed that several current Colts players, as well as members of the team's coaching staff, may be playing for their futures during Sunday's season finale at Jacksonville.
"Everybody understands that is just kind of the way it is. Whether you are coaching or playing, it is always the same, and that doesn't matter if it is in Week 10 and you're 9-1 or whatever it might be. Nothing is promised to you and there are no guarantees. I think everybody that has played the game understands that, particularly at this level," coach Jim Caldwell said.
"Everybody that has coached, we all coach on one-year contracts for (our) entire career, and probably 95 percent of my career. That is the way it is. There are no guarantees."
--QB Dan Orlovsky did not take part in Wednesday's workout. Orlovsky's wife gave birth to triplets over the weekend. He is expected to return in time for Thursday's workout and start Sunday at Jacksonville.
--QB Curtis Painter worked with the first-team offense during Wednesday's practice in Dan Orlovsky's absence. Painter fully expected Orlovsky to be back and have plenty of time to prepare for Sunday's game with the Jaguars.
--DE Robert Mathis has been named a first alternate to the Pro Bowl and is expected to play in the all-star game due to a season-ending injury to New England DE Andre Carter. Mathis was also selected as the AFC's Defensive Player of the Week for his performance against Houston. He had two sacks, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery against the Texans.
--TE Dallas Clark (neck burner), who did not play in the wins over Tennessee or Houston, returned for a full practice routine on Wednesday. Clark remains hopeful of being able to play Sunday at Jacksonville.
--LB A.J. Edds (ankle) did not practice Wednesday. His status for the Jacksonville game is up in the air at the present time. Edds missed several games earlier this month due to an ankle injury.
--WR Anthony Gonzalez (illness) was held out of Wednesday's workout but may be able to play at Jacksonville on Sunday.
--OG Joe Reitz (ankle) was sidelined during Wednesday's practice. Reitz was hurt in last Thursday's home game with Houston. His availability for the Jacksonville game has yet to be decided.
--LB Philip Wheeler (foot) was placed on injured reserve Wednesday.
--QB Peyton Manning (neck) will not practice this week. Manning is continuing his rehab work after undergoing neck fusion surgery on Sept. 8. He is expected to fail his post-season physical and be able to continue his rehab at the team's training facility.
GAME PLAN: Finish. That's the goal heading into the Jacksonville game on Sunday.
Finish with a sweep of AFC South teams after knocking off Tennessee and Houston the last two weeks. Finish on offense when you're in the red zone. Find a way to punch the ball into the end zone. And finish on defense. Finish the turnaround that started in the second half of the loss to Baltimore.
Simply put, the Colts must be able to have a sustained running game while taking advantage of passing situations. Defensively, Indianapolis has to be able to slow down the Jaguars running game. And they must find a way to force mistakes by a rookie quarterback.
MATCHUPS TO WATCH: Colts WR Reggie Wayne vs. Jaguars secondary. Wayne usually plays well against Jacksonville and he has played well over the last two weeks in wins over the Titans and Texans. Depending on how his offseason contract negotiations go, Sunday's game with the Jaguars could very well be Wayne's last in an Indianapolis uniform.
Jaguars QB Blaine Gabbert vs. Colts pass rush. Indianapolis didn't do a bad overall job against Gabbert earlier in the season, although there were some crucial breakdowns in the second half of that game that allowed the rookie signal-caller to break free of the pocket and make some plays downfield. That can't happen on Sunday.
Colts run defense vs. Jaguars RB Maurice Jones-Drew. Jones-Drew is considered to be the best running back that Indianapolis' defense faces on a regular basis. He has been tough for the Colts to stop completely. They've slowed him down some on occasion, but Indianapolis, which came very close to drafting Jones-Drew in 2006 and teaming him with RB Joseph
Addai, has yet to completely shut him down.