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Chuck Pagano has good news for Patriots fans

12.26.12 at 6:30 pm ET
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Christmas was on Tuesday but on Wednesday – Boxing Day in Canada – there was some very good news from Indianapolis that might turn into a gift for the Patriots and their fans.

The returning Chuck Pagano – who will be coaching his first game since successful cancer treatment – told reporters that he intends to play all of his starters who are physically cleared to play, despite the fact that the Colts are slotted at the No. 5 seed in the AFC and that won’t change, win or lose.

It seems only fitting for a coach that just battled leukemia for the past three months.

‘€œIt’€™s just not in our DNA. It’€™s not in our makeup,’€ Pagano said Wednesday of playing his players to win. ‘€œThese kids deserve it, their families deserve it. Our fans in this city deserve our best every game regardless of the situation and regardless of the circumstances.’€

What’s at stake? If the Colts beat the 12-3 Texans and the 11-4 Patriots beat the Dolphins, the Patriots will have a first-round bye in the AFC playoffs. The Colts also know that the Texans are playing for their playoff position, as a Houston win clinches the No. 1 seed and home field throughout the playoffs, as well as a first-round bye for the Texans.

Pagano ruled out running back Delone Carter (ankle) and center Samson Satele (ankle). The status of at least four others are likely game-time decisions.

‘€œWhether you agree with it or not, I think there is something to be said about keeping your momentum going and still going out and working on your craft,’€ Colts linebacker Dwight Freeney said. ‘€œGuys who can play, should play. I don’€™t know if it’€™s going to be a whole game situation scenario, but that’€™s up to the coaching staff to decide. You are risking getting hurt, but that’€™s just part of the nature of this game.’€

Pagano believes playing to win, whether Week 1 or Week 17 is still the main objective.

‘€œThey’€™re going to roll a ball out there and it’€™s our job to go out there and try to win a football game,’€ he said. ‘€œYou want to win. You want to win at home. You want to go into the playoffs with momentum.’€

And the Patriots would love that momentum to rest a week.

Read More: Chuck Pagano, dwight freeney, houston texans, Indianapolis Colts
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