Colts' Darius Leonard: 'When you're the 7 seed, everybody expects you to fail'

Most prognosticators aren't giving the Indianapolis Colts much of a shot to upset the red-hot Buffalo Bills in Saturday's playoff matchup.

The 11-win Colts and coach Frank Reich are gratefully playing the "no one believes in us card" with candor this week.

"I feel like for me there's never no pressure,'' linebacker Darius Leonard said Wednesday, via WXIN Indianapolis. "Like coach said, when you're the 7 seed, everybody expects you to fail. That's the mindset. Everybody's sharing that: you failed.''

The Bills' six-game win streak to close the season as the No. 2 overall seed, along with an All-Pro type season from Josh Allen, have perception skewed heavily in Buffalo's favor.

"Crazy that everybody said that the Bills was going to win,'' Leonard said. "Everybody's counting us out, so we just go in there and just be us.

"We don't have to do nothing more, we don't have to do nothing less. Just be us, control what we can control and that is playing great fundamental football and hopefully we can come out with a victory.

"But pressure? Nah. We don't have any pressure on us.''

If not for an egg laid in the second Week 16 against Pittsburgh, Indy would be perceived much differently. The Colts would be on a five-game win streak of their own sans that collapse and wouldn't have needed help just to make the No. 7 spot.

Bills coach Sean McDermott saw through the Colts' plan this week to paint themselves as a hapless lucky team just happy to be in the postseason.

"I know Frank is using that ..." McDermott said of the underdog card, via Jim Ayello of the Indy Star. "They're an 11-win team with a Hall of Fame quarterback, but he's got to do what he's got to do."

Indy has more than a puncher's chance, even if Buffalo enters as the superior club.

The last time Leonard and the Colts visited the postseason in 2018, they got down big to Kansas City and never put up much of a fight, falling 31-13 on a wintry day in K.C.

The Pro Bowl linebacker said the Colts learned a lot from that experience, and he believes they'll be ready to take the next step in Buffalo. Of course, that came with a nod to the skeptics.

"We've just got to start early," Leonard said. "We've been playing good. I think we'll continue to play good and just let people, everybody who doubted us sit down, grab a beer and just watch our defense run around and make plays.''

Saturday's postseason matchup will likely come down to how well Leonard and the Colts can slow Allen and Buffalo's pass-happy offense. If Indy allows the Bills to stampede up and down the field, those beer-drinking doubters will be proven correct.

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