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Colts-Dolphins Preview

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With Andrew Luck not likely to save them and Matt Hasselbeck "beat up from the feet up," the Indianapolis Colts are desperately clinging to fading playoff hopes.

Star receiver T.Y. Hilton has voiced his frustration, blaming the team's play-calling.

Hasselbeck is expected to play through several injuries as the visiting Colts try to avoid their longest skid in four years Sunday against the struggling Miami Dolphins.

Indianapolis had been targeting Week 16 as a return date for Luck, but he's already been ruled out because of a lacerated kidney he suffered in a win over Denver in Week 9.

After winning his first four starts while filling in for Luck, the 40-year-old Hasselbeck has gotten worn down throughout his extended playing time. The Colts were riding high on a three-game winning streak after he threw for 315 yards - his most in four years - and two touchdowns in a 25-12 home victory over Tampa Bay in Week 12.

Since then, Hasselbeck has thrown for an average of 189.3 yards with two scores and three interceptions over three consecutive losses. He had a season-low 147 yards in Sunday's 16-10 home loss to Houston that snapped a 13-game home winning streak in the series and dropped the Colts one game behind the Texans in the AFC South.

"We signed up for 16 regular-season games and we're going to finish," coach Chuck Pagano said. "I told them to finish the race."

Hasselbeck had to have his jaw looked at in the fourth quarter, but returned after third-stringer Charlie Whitehurst guided the offense for one series. He's been knocked out of each of the last three games with back, shoulder, neck and rib injuries.

Now Hasselbeck is getting another opportunity to turn around a team that has averaged 12.0 points - including one defensive touchdown - and 250.7 total yards during the team's slide after it had put up 25.3 points and 349.8 yards per game while winning six of its previous nine.

Hilton has topped the 1,000-yard mark for the third straight season, but seemed to have enough of the team's passive approach Sunday after finishing with three catches for 29 yards.

"The throws have been there, but we just haven't been calling them," Hilton said. "It's more the play-calling."

Hilton, a Miami native playing back home for the first time as a pro, has totaled 12 catches for 226 yards and a touchdown in his two home meetings with the Dolphins.

Although it faces some long odds, Pagano insists his banged-up squad isn't ready to give up on a third straight division title. The simplest formula is beating Miami and Tennessee while hoping that Houston loses to the Titans and Jacksonville.

"I'd hate to sit there and let something slip by and then all of a sudden look back and say, 'Boy, I didn't know (the Texans) were going to lose two games," Pagano said.

Indianapolis (6-8) should be able to move the ball as it tries to avoid its longest losing streak since opening 0-13 during the 2011 season. Miami ranks 26th in the NFL with 25.8 points per game and 30th in total defense, allowing 396.8 yards per game.

The Dolphins gave up at least 30 points for the fifth time in eight games in Sunday's 30-14 loss at San Diego. They've dropped six of those eight since winning two straight in October.

Quarterback Ryan Tannehill appears to have taken a step back, throwing for an average of 179.3 yards with two touchdowns over his last three games. He had thrown for 271.9 yards per game with 20 scores and 11 interceptions heading into that stretch.

"We know it's our last two games, but I think we need to find a way to play well and build off of that for next year," Tannehill said.

Miami could take another look at rookie Jay Ajayi after he played ahead of Lamar Miller and finished with 27 yards and a touchdown on six carries against the Chargers.

The Colts rank 25th in the league against the run, allowing 123.8 yards per game, but have been even worse in defending the pass and rank 29th with an average of 267.2.

The Dolphins (5-9) will be shorthanded after center Mike Pouncey (left foot) and linebackers Koa Misi (back) and Chris McCain (knee) suffered season-ending injuries. Left tackle Branden Albert might not play because of a right knee injury.

Miami snapped a four-game skid in this series with a 24-20 road win Sept. 15, 2013.