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Tuesday, Oct 17, 2017
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Indy needs newcomers to get past Ravens

HOUSTON - The playoffs can't start soon enough for Donnie Avery. Five years after being the first receiver taken in the 2008 NFL draft, he will finally make his postseason debut at Baltimore. It's about time. "It's great, it's like starting the season all over again," the Colts receiver said Friday with a smile. "It's got my juices flowing again."
The veterans who have been there before will explain this is the way the playoffs are — exciting and nerve-racking all the same time. And this week, at least, Avery isn't the only one in the Colts' locker room going through this experience for the first time. Of the 53 players on this year's roster, 28 have never played in an NFL playoff game. Perhaps that should be expected from a team that has relied on rookie quarterback Andrew Luck, piled up more combined rushing and receiving yards by rookies than any team since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger and endured the most thorough housecleaning project of any team in the league after last years' 2-14 debacle. More than a half-dozen key players from the Colts' 2009 Super Bowl team, including Peyton Manning, were let go. But the truth is only nine rookies are on that first-timer list as the surprising Colts (11-5) visit AFC North champion Baltimore (10-6) in Sunday's wild-card game. Colts starting guard Reitz out for Sunday Colts left guard Joe Reitz will not play in Sunday's playoff game at Baltimore because of a concussion. He will likely be replaced by Jeff Linkenbach. Reitz has been inactive for seven games this season because of knee and head injuries, though he had started eight of Indy's (11-5) last 10 games. He was kicked in the head on an extra-point during Sunday's win over Houston. Coach Chuck Pagano says nobody else has been ruled out. Texans LB Dobbins placed on IR The Houston Texans have placed linebacker Tim Dobbins on injured reserve with an ankle injury. Dobbins has appeared in 14 games with six starts for the Texans this season. He had 43 tackles and an interception. The Texans signed rookie linebacker Cameron Collins from the practice squad to fill the roster spot. Houston hosts Cincinnati today in a wild-card game.
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