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Why this Colts team can make a legitimate run at the playoffs

Head coach Shane Steichen of the Indianapolis Colts on the sidelines of Lucas Oil Stadium on Sept. 10, 2023. (Michael Hickey/Getty Images)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The Indianapolis Colts are riding a two-game win streak, sitting at .500 heading into their bye week with a 5-5 record.

The top two teams in the AFC have seven wins, just two more than the Colts.

The next four teams in the playoff race have six wins, while the Texans currently hold the seventh and final AFC playoff spot with a 5-4 record.

The Colts hold the tiebreaker over Houston, but the two AFC South teams will play each other during the last week of the regular season at Lucas Oil Stadium.

Last season, the Horseshoe sported a 4-5-1 record through 10 weeks before losing out and finishing 4-12-1.

The year before, the Colts finished Week 10 with a 5-5 record, but an end-of-the-season losing skid kept the team out of the postseason.

This year, Indianapolis has something special.


All season long, Colts Head Coach Shane Steichen has repeatedly used the phrase “fighting, scratching, and clawing” when referring to this team, and he loves the fight that he is seeing in the 2023 Indianapolis Colts.

“It’s the belief and the resilience no matter what the circumstances are,” Steichen said. “We are finding ways to win games and that’s the stat that matters. … The belief that every time we step on that field, we’re going to go win the football game.”

Steichen hasn’t experienced the ups and downs of the Indianapolis Colts over the last handful of years, his sixth-year tight end Mo Alie-Cox has.

“We are hungry,” Alie-Cox said. “There is a belief that we can compete in every single game that we are in and there is no giving up. Last year we were in a bunch of games that were close, and then they turned into a blowout out of nowhere. This year, we get down, but everybody just has that resiliency, that grit, and that fight. We know we’re always in a game and we could win any game. … We are hungry and we know coming out of this bye we are in a great position.”

Second-year defensive end Kwity Paye sees the same thing as Alie-Cox.

“There is just no quit in this team,” Paye said. “We’re playing for each other, we’re playing for our coaches, we’re playing for a lot right now. … It just speaks to how Shane has continued to change the culture here.”

While Paye has only played with the Colts for two years, Alie-Cox has been in Indy since 2017. He experienced the tail end of the Chuck Pagano regime, the entirety of the Frank Reich regime, and now sees what Shane Steichen brings to the table.

“We get a lot of our confidence from Shane [Steichen],” Alie-Cox said. “The way he coaches us, he pushes us and gives us that belief every day in practice. … His message really resonates with the players and when we go out there on Sundays, we all believe that we are going to come out on top. … Players are going to follow [Steichen] and run through a wall for [him].”

It is safe to say the 2023 Indianapolis Colts are unlike any Colts team we have seen in recent memory, and Steichen’s bunch has a legitimate chance to contend for a playoff berth late in the season.

But first, a week off for the team. Indianapolis will welcome the 4-5 Buccaneers to town at 1 p.m. Nov. 26.

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