The Colts (10-4) have a playoff berth secure by virtue of an AFC South-clinching win over Houston last Sunday and hold the AFC’s No. 3 playoff seed. The Cowboys (10-4) have a one-game lead on Philadelphia in the NFC North Division but a loss and Eagles win would put Dallas in a precarious playoff position.
Here’s what Pagano had to say on various topics:
— He shared statistics on the Cowboys’ numerous offensive weapons, spoke of their strong offensive line and said of going up against the likes of running back DeMarco Murray, wide receiver Dez Bryant, tight end Jason Witten and quarterback Tony Romo, “We got our hands full.”
— Asked if this game would be a tune-up for the kind of competition the Colts can expect in the playoffs, Pagano dismissed the notion this was a “tune-up” and said, “It’s going to be a heck of a challenge to see exactly where we’re at.”
— When questioned about where the Colts are at, Pagano admitted the team has to “clean up” some things, specifically too many turnovers and penalties. The Colts’ 28 turnovers are tied with Chicago for third-most in the NFL. The team’s 93 penalties for 773 yards are actually slightly below the league average of 94 for 789 yards. The number of penalties are tied with San Diego for 14th and the penalty yards rank 16th.
— Pagano said his defense is “as far along as we’ve been in three years, better than we’ve been,” but he also conceded, “We’ve had our moments that we didn’t play well and we gave up way too many yards.” The Colts are 17th in points allowed (22.6 per game), 15th in total yards allowed (351 per game), tied with Dallas for 16th in rushing yards allowed (110.4 per game) and 19th in passing yards allowed (240.6 per game).
— Asked if the team would consider resting wide receiver Reggie Wayne, who has been playing with a protective sleeve on his left arm due to a torn triceps, the coach said Wayne as well as all others nursing nagging injuries will be considered for rest.
Phillip B. Wilson can be found on Twitter (@pwilson24), Facebook and Google+.