Pro Player Stadium has become the Indianapolis Colts’ home away from dome.
Their bid for the Super Bowl will begin at Pro Player in Miami, where the Colts have beaten the Dolphins the past two meeting. In fact, the visiting team has won the last four games and five of the last six between the two teams.
The Dolphins (11-5) play host to the Colts (10-6) in a first-round playoff game on Saturday, their third meeting in five weeks.
Quarterback Peyton Manning, the fifth quarterback in NFL history to throw for 4,000 yards in consecutive seasons, said the road victory streak is meaningless in the postseason.
“I don’t know if ‘comfortable’ is the word. The last time we played down there, it was extremely loud, as loud as I’ve heard in a long time,” he said. “It’s going to be a tremendous atmosphere. I don’t think it’s going to be a situation of home or away. It’s just making plays, or not making plays.”
Fiedler Playing Confident Despite Injury
The Colts stayed alive in the playoff race on Nov. 26 when Edgerrin James ran for 112 yards, and Peyton Manning threw for 206 in a 20-13 win at Miami.
The Colts also beat Buffalo in a Monday Night Football game, and finished the regular season with a victory over Minnesota to clinch a playoff spot.
Dolphins quarterback Jay Fiedler, who was 30-of-45 passing for 264 yards, all career highs, on Sunday against New England, said he wasn’t looking forward to another close game.
“I hope it’s not, but I expect it to be a close ball game. Indy’s playing as good as any team in the NFL right now,” he said.
Fiedler will require offseason surgery after slightly tearing his rotator cuff in his non-throwing shoulder. He said the injury shouldn’t be a factor against the Colts.
“Right now, I’m more confident with the injury, and more comfortable playing with it. At first, I didn’t know how I was going to react or how I was going to take a hit. Over the past few games, I’ve been able to test it and take some shots,” he said.
As for the Colts, coach Jim Mora said it doesn’t look like any of his players have any serious injuries that will keep them out of the game.
Manning pointed to last year’s 19-16 loss to Tennessee in an AFC divisional game at the RCA Dome as proof that home-field advantage doesn’t necessarily guarantee a victory.
“It really doesn’t matter how you got there or where you play. The Titans certainly proved that last year. They were a wild-card team going all the way to the Super Bowl by winning two games on the road. It’s certainly possible. Going on the road to Miami and trying to beat a good football team will be a challenge,” he said.
Miami coach Dave Wannstedt said he hoped Miami snapped out of its funk with the 27-24 win against New England. The Dolphins lost their previous two games.
“They’ve won three straight with their backs to the wall. They’re the defending champs from a year ago. Our guys know that this will be a big challenge for us,” Wannstedt said of the Colts. “We know that they’re capable of coming here in our backyard and winning the football game.”