Relax, Indy: Colts aren’t out of Luck

Whoa. That had potential to be the single worst win in Colts history Thursday night.

Don’t worry, Colts fans. The dream still lives. You just have to lose in Week 17. You will get Andrew Luck. Jim Caldwell will be the ex-coach of the Colts. Take a deep breath. Christmas will be saved.

Plus, we salute the Lions, look at the real winner with Matt Barkley staying in school, and wonder what the Giants receivers are thinking. It’s time for our weekly SIZZLE and FIZZLE in the NFL.

SIZZLE

Andrew Luck

I hope Andrew Luck likes the color blue, because he is an absolute lock to be drafted by the Indianapolis Colts if (when) they get the first overall pick.

Luck is great. He’s can’t miss. John Madden told me he’s the best quarterback prospect since, well, Peyton Manning. And trust me, the Colts organization knows it.

My colleague Mark Kriegel wrote a tremendous piece on Tuesday on why the Colts must draft Andrew Luck. Kriegel knows. It will happen.

Luck is a franchise quarterback who has every tangible and intangible you look for.

Rich Gannon and I spent 25 great, nugget-filled minutes interviewing Indy Vice Chairman Bill Polian this week on the SiriusXM Blitz. Polian stressed to us that the Colts could afford to keep Peyton Manning while drafting a quarterback (Luck) with the No. 1 overall pick.

And Polian made it crystal clear that he won’t be putting that pick up for sale.

“I can’t imagine that there are players that we could afford under the salary cap that would come in and help our team, veteran players that would be available in such a trade," Polian told us. "And if you traded it for picks, which you probably would be wise to do, those picks would be very high picks, the highest picks perhaps, in a lot of future years, which means that they wouldn’t be on the team in the short run. Somehow or other, that theory, people have asked me about that, but it doesn’t hold water with me. I don’t know what you get out of it.

"If you’re assuming that you trade one of the top three picks in the draft for a bunch of second- and third-rounders in that same draft, I don’t buy that one at all.”

Andrew Luck will be enlisted to save the Colts. He has all of the characteristics to be the face of a franchise and turn the Colts back into winners. The Stanford product is up for the challenge.

Dan Orlovsky

He stepped out of bounds for a safety. He was the quarterback for the 0-16 Lions. I was thrilled for Orlovsky, who is a hard worker and a good guy, that he won last week. I was thrilled he beat the Texans on Thursday night on a game-winning drive, punctuated by a touchdown to Reggie Wayne. Colts fans have to be livid, jeopardizing the ability to draft first overall. They still clinch the No. 1 overall pick when they lose to the Jags. So Colts fans will always remember Orlovsky fondly.

Jim Schwartz

In this wild year for the Lions, it’s worth reminding people that Detroit is 9-5 with two weeks left. It’s easy to stress the negative on the second half. But we are a game away from the Lions, a few years after the stench of Matt Millen and a season without a win, finally getting back to the playoffs. The Lions clinch a playoff berth with a win against the Chargers this weekend.

It’s been a zany ride, especially recently. Ndamukong Suh was suspended for stomping on a player. The Saints loss on national television was an embarrassment, getting blown out in a penalty-fueled game.

But the Lions came all the way back, down 13 in the fourth quarter against Oakland on Sunday to put them in this position. Matthew Stafford put an exclamation point on his incredible season by driving the team down for the go-ahead score on the touchdown to Calvin Johnson. The crowd in Detroit is going to be at a frenzied pitch on Saturday. I feel so great for these long-suffering fans.

The man to credit for the nine wins, an accomplishment in itself, is Jim Schwartz. He changed the culture last year. He challenged his team to win three of the last four games in the final quarter, as if they needed that to make the tournament. They won all four.

Finally, after years of being ruined by Matt Millen, the Lions have a coach and a team, even through the crazy times, they can be proud of.

Matt Flynn

If you start whispering to executives around the league, they believe Flynn is going to be in high demand this offseason. He has been prepped by Mike McCarthy. He has learned under Aaron Rodgers. There is a growing sense that Flynn is the equivalent of Matt Schaub, who went from Mike Vick’s back-up in Atlanta to starter for the Texans.

Flynn is bright. He can make every throw. On the collegiate level he was a winner. Especially with the news that Matt Barkley is staying in school for his senior year, remember the name Matt Flynn. He makes a lot of sense for the Browns, Seahawks or Redskins.

FIZZLE

Jim Caldwell

When we talked to Polian, he had an opportunity to defend Caldwell like he has when interviewed elsewhere. Polian not only declined, he passed the buck to owner Jim Irsay. Bill Polian is a bright man. He knows Caldwell is overmatched. If you listened closely to what Polian said, and what he didn’t say, Jim Caldwell is rightly done at the end of the year.

Victor Cruz/Hakeem Nicks

Why, oh why, would the Giants receivers opt to take shots at Darrelle Revis of all players on the Jets. He is the best pure cover corner in the game. Nicks called him “decent” while Cruz said “teams aren’t afraid of him.” Revis has had one bad game this year, and that was against Stevie Johnson and the Bills. He was my choice for defensive player of the year at the half. And he should be voted first team All-Pro. Not sure what these cats are looking at.

But the insane comments represented an even bigger problem, in my eyes. They came right after Tom Coughlin, on the heels of Antrel Rolle’s constant stupidity, begged his team not to be drawn into any nonsense or garbage or trash talk. And Nicks and Cruz blatantly ignored him.

Ben Roethlisberger

He’s not healthy. The Steelers play the Rams this weekend. It’s Charlie Batch time. The Steelers’ only chance to advance in the playoffs is with a healthy Big Ben. When Mike Tomlin joined us on the Sirius XM Blitz on Tuesday, he hinted Batch would play. That’s the right move.