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When I accepted the job as head coach of the Indianapolis Colts last January, it was a dream come true for me and my family. I knew I was coming to an organization with a great owner and a great winning tradition. I knew Indy had great fans, but I might have underestimated just how great. Being new to the community I never expected the outpouring of support I received from Colts fans throughout the state and country. The love and support you showed my family and me gave me a tremendous amount of comfort and peace. Every letter, success story, prayer and act of kindness made this process a whole lot easier. I am also fortunate to have had some of the best doctors and nurses in the country right here in Indiana to care for me.
I am proud to serve as the head coach of your Colts. I take great pride in knowing that the team has persevered this season because you have shown them the same support you have shown my family and me. You have had a huge impact on my recovery and our season and I look forward to accomplishing great things here for a long, long time.
On behalf of the Pagano family, thank you for helping me heal and for showing our country that we do have the best fans in the entire world; fans whose love for their coaches and players extends way beyond the football field.
Ind-Bal: Ind is one of the worst teams to ever make the playoffs. That has not always been a bad thing in this round (see: 2010 Sea), but there is a crucial difference here: people think they are kind of good. They are not – Football Outsiders ranks them #18 on offense, #31 on defense and #25 overall, for example. Bal is not that good either, pedestrian on offense and defense but with the best special teams in the league, but they look like the '85 Bears next to this Indy team. They are quite good at home, Flacco in particular is a completely different player than on the road. Bal should score pretty much at will in this game, Ind has some weapons but will likely be unable to keep up.
Seahawks' defense: Seattle allowed a league-low 245 points and held its last five opponents to 17 points or fewer. The Seahawks ranked fourth overall by yielding 306.2 yards per game and 10th against the run (103.1). Seattle is also among the league's top 10 in interceptions (18) and forced fumbles (16). Second-year cornerback Richard Sherman is a ferocious hitter who tied for second in the league with eight interceptions, and DE Chris Clemons registered 11.5 sacks.
Redskins' defense: Washington has overcome a slew of injuries, including season-ending ones to LB Brian Orakpo, DE Adam Carriker and safety Brandon Meriweather. The Redskins are not among the league's elite units, but after failing to hold one of their first nine opponents to under 21 points, they limited five of their last seven to 21 points or fewer. Washington ranks fifth in the league against the run at 95.8 yards per game, but is only 30th against the pass (281.9 yards).