Colts have back against the wall against Tennessee
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -- Peyton Manning isn't calling Monday night's showdown at Tennessee a must-win game, although that's exactly what he says the Indianapolis Colts need to do.
Already three games behind the AFC South-leading Titans, the NFL's only unbeaten team, another loss would just about kill any chance for a sixth straight division title for the Colts.
'We need to win this game, we want to win this game," Manning said Thursday.
"I don't really know what the specific label to this game is, but I know we need to have a good week of practice," Manning said.
The Colts' 3-3 start is their worst in Tony Dungy's seven seasons as coach.
"It's certainly an important game because it's a division game and they are the leaders in the division," said Manning, who missed the preseason while he recuperated from knee surgery. "You certainly don't want to get too far behind in the division. Like I said, I don't really use those (must-win) terms, but I know it's important."
Dungy said the problem hasn't been a lack of effort. Playing smart, consistent football is another matter, he said.
"I don't know if it's a statement game, but I know that we've been on the other side of the coin a few times in the last couple of years," Dungy said.
"For us, where we're sitting, we've got to play a good game at some point down the road and prove to ourselves that we can play well against a team that is an upper-echelon team. ... This will be the best team that we've played. And we've got to show that we can go out there and play well."
The Colts made two roster moves on Thursday, releasing cornerback Keiwan Ratliff and re-signing cornerback Nick Graham, who was cut last week.
Ratliff had been the team's primary punt returner, but with his departure, rookie receiver-kickoff returner Pierre Garcon will also handle punts.
Dungy also said running back Joseph Addai (hamstring) is not expected to play against the Titans, although a final decision probably won't be made until the weekend. Safety Bob Sanders (knee), cornerback Kelvin Hayden (knee) and receiver Roy Hall (knee) already have been ruled out of the Tennessee game.