The 2011 season for the Indianapolis Colts wraps up Sunday against the Jacksonville Jaguars at 1 p.m. at EverBank Field in Jacksonville, Fla.
While two wins in a season is hardly what a team at any level would consider a success, the back-to-back winning streak the Colts ride into the finale is a welcome sight for a team that was staring a historic 0-16 season in the face.
Soon, all eyes will be back on quarterback Peyton Manning for status updates on his continued rehabilitation efforts and his future with the team, but for now there is one final game to play out.
Here is what to watch for in the final game of the regular season.
1. Dan Orlovsky playing for his future.
The offseason quarterback shuffle will be an interesting storyline to follow for the Colts, and Orlovsky has put himself into the best position he could hope for with his play since being inserted as the starter. In the team's first two victories, and Orlovsky's first two of his career, his lone turnover was a fumble on the opening play of last week's win over the Houston Texans. He played against the Jaguars in the fourth quarter of the team's first meeting this season after Curtis Painter proved ineffective in a seven-point game. With much talk of the Colts possibly taking a quarterback in the 2012 NFL Draft, Orlovsky has one final game to earn a chance at retaining a spot on next year's roster.
2. Pro-Bowler Dwight Freeney
Freeney had an unusual road to becoming the team's lone pro-bowl selection this season. His 7.5 sacks is his lowest full season total in five years and could be just his second full season failing to reach 10 on the year. His 18 tackles is currently three fewer than any season total of his career. Yet Freeney will be done the red of the AFC in Hawaii on Jan. 29. Against the Jaguars in his career, Freeney has nine sacks in ten games, but none in the previous three meetings. Sunday would be a good time to take down Jaguars quarterback Blaine Gabbert and have a good showing before heading off the mainland.
3. Last hurrahs?
There are many names on the Colts roster whose contracts are expiring after this season. Among the notables are wide receiver Reggie Wayne, defensive end Robert Mathis, and center Jeff Saturday. It is never crystal clear who could be retained and who could be let go until it happens to each, so fans should enjoy watching who they can one more time. Also out there though is head coach Jim Caldwell. After a combined 24-8 in his first two seasons with a Super Bowl appearance as the head coach with Manning at quarterback, he is 2-13 without him this year. He has already seen his defensive coordinator, Larry Coyer, fired earlier this season. No one person should be safe it what has been all too often a treacherous season for the Colts.
Tags: Dan Orlovsky, Dwight Freeney, Football, Indianapolis, Indianapolis Colts, Jeff Saturday, Jim Caldwell, NFL, Reggie Wayne, Robert Mathis
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