INDIANAPOLIS — The final pieces of the postseason puzzle will be fit together today.
But the Indianapolis Colts (10-5) aren't interested in the myriad possibilities that will help determine their playoff fate. Every scenario that involves the team improving its current No. 4 seed in the AFC playoffs first requires a victory against the Jacksonville Jaguars (4-11), the opponent at 1 p.m. at Lucas Oil Stadium.
"We got a single focus, and that's on Jacksonville," Colts head coach Chuck Pagano said. "We got a team coming in here that's won four out of their last seven ballgames. Coach (Gus) Bradley's done a great job with those guys since the bye week. They've done nothing but get better and better, and they're coming here to win a football game.
"Certainly, we better be prepared for that. You just turn the tape on, and the tape speaks for itself."
The tape shows a team with a winning record (3-2) against AFC South rivals and a far greater sense of purpose than its dismal overall mark would suggest.
Much of that is a credit to first-year head coach Bradley, who has attempted to change the culture in the locker room. Even when the Jaguars began the season with eight consecutive losses, he made sure the team saw progression during meetings.
After a 4-1 stretch following the Nov. 3 bye week, Jacksonville has lost its past two games by a combined 11 points. But that hasn't shaken the team's belief in itself or Bradley's unflappable approach.
"We show them examples of how we're improving, and they sense that, and they feel it," he said. "I think that here's another week, an opportunity to get better. We'll have a test on Sunday to see how much we've improved. I think they've really embraced that type of mentality."