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Colts hold players meeting after ugly loss to Cowboys

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INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — The Colts held a meeting this week to ensure the team was headed in the same direction.

Players only. No coaches.

“It was a chance for a player, if he wanted to leave, it was a chance to leave and not be crucified,” said receiver Reggie Wayne, who called the meeting along with other veterans. “It was a chance for us as a team to really figure out if everybody was on the same page going forward and what we need to do.”

Indianapolis is locked into the No. 4 seed in the playoffs set to being next week. The Colts have no chance of moving up or down in the seeding process unless the Bengals and Steelers would happen to tie this week.

Right now, though, the Colts (10-5) are looking for a win over the Titans (2-13) on Sunday. They want to gain some momentum heading into the postseason.

Depending on the outcome of Sunday’s game between Pittsburg and Cincinnati, Indy is expected to face the loser of that game in the Wild Card round.

Coach Chuck Pagano said he hasn’t looked ahead to Indy’s potential playoff opponents, and has spent his time only on preparing for Tennessee.

Still, Pagano said, he has people on the Colts staff who do “advance work” and have things in place for the team to begin preparing for the first playoff game with the opponent is announced.

“All that stuff, all the information, all the film, it’s already broken down in the computers,” he said. “Everything’s laid out, so once we’re done with the regular season, we can jump right on it.”

The Colts are coming off a 42-7 loss at Dallas last week in one of the team’s worst performances of the season. Wayne described the loss a wake-up call and a slap in the face, which is why Pagano has emphasized the importance of Indy finishing on a positive note.

“We need to go try to win,” Pagano said. “We need to get this taste out of our mouth and we need to go into the playoffs feeling good about ourselves.”

The Colts had little trouble with the Titans in a 41-17 win back on Sept. 28 and Tennessee has only won once since. A win this week would mean the Colts finish 6-0 against AFC South division opponents for the second straight year.

Wayne brushed aside the notion that the regular-season finale against the Titans was a meaningless game for the Colts. Sure, a win wouldn’t be much momentum for Indy to take into the postseason, he acknowledged, but every little bit helps.

“I don’t that you could say coming off a one-game winning streak is considered to be hot,” Wayne said. “But, in my opinion, the hot team going in is the team that does well. One way to get hot is to start with one game.”

Staying focused isn’t all that difficult to do, according to offensive tackle Anthony Castonzo, even with the playoff’s set to start next week.

“It’s our job so at the end of the day it’s our job to get the job done on every play, regardless of who we’re playing, regardless of where in the season it is,” he said. “It’s pride before everything else. You want to win every rep regardless of whether it, ‘matters’ or not.”

Notes: Pagano said tight end Dwayne Allen (knee), offensive tackle Gosder Cherilus (groin), and linebacker Bjoern Werner are out this week against Tennessee. . Receiver T.Y. Hilton (hamstring) saw limited practice time this week after missing last week’s game at Dallas, but Pagano said Hilton is questionable for Sunday’s game along with linebacker Jerrell Freeman (hamstring) and offensive tackle Joe Reitz (ankle).

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