MIAMI (Ticker) -- The Indianapolis Colts saved their season with a win here in Week 16. Now they will have to do it again as well as win two more road games to reach Super Bowl XXXV.
The AFC East champion Miami Dolphins and Colts will meet for the third time in six weeks today in the wild card round.
The Colts won their last three games, defeating Buffalo, Miami and Minnesota, to earn the final AFC wild card spot.
"They're probably the hottest team right now in the NFL," Dolphins coach Dave Wannstedt said. "They're playing with an awful lot of confidence, they've got an awful lot of talent and they're well coached."
While the Colts are rolling, the Dolphins dropped their last three home games but clinched their first division title since 1994 with a 27-24 win at New England last week.
On December 17 here, the Colts built a 20-3 lead en route to a 20-13 victory over the Dolphins. Peyton Manning completed 21-of-28 passes for 206 yards, including a 50-yard touchdown to tight end Marcus Pollard, and scored on a four-yard run.
While Manning was mistake-free, Miami's Jay Fiedler was 12-of-25 for 150 yards with an interception. Colts cornerback Jeff Burris picked off a pass over the middle intended for Bert Emanuel at the Indianapolis 38 with 2:15 left to virtually seal the win.
Edgerrin James, the NFL rushing champion in each of his first two seasons, rushed for 112 yards on 32 carries.
Lamar Smith, Miami's second 1,000-yard rusher in 22 years, rushed for 97 yards, including an eight-yard touchdown, on 22 carries.
Indianapolis' offensive line protected Manning against Miami's vaunted pass rush, which is led by Pro Bowl ends Trace Armstrong and Jason Taylor, who combined for 31 sacks in the regular season. Taylor recorded the lone sack of Manning in the second meeting.
In the first meeting November 26 at Indianapolis, backup Damon Huard played for an injured Fiedler and threw a 17-yard touchdown pass to Oronde Gadsden with 1:10 left to lift the Dolphins to a 17-14 victory.
Indianapolis held a 14-10 lead and was in field goal range with 2:56 left when Manning was intercepted by Pro Bowl safety Brock Marion at the Miami 5 with just over three minutes left.
Huard engineered a nine-play, 86-yard drive in 1:46 following the turnover, completing 6-of-7 passes for 78 yards.
Indianapolis' defense ranked 21st in the league but it toughened down the stretch, holding Buffalo, Miami and Minnesota to an average of 267 yards.
"We came out and played some of our best defensive football in the last couple of weeks," Colts veteran linebacker Cornelius Bennett said.
Today, Peterson, Bennett, and defensive end Chad Bratzke will try to contain Smith and disrupt Miami's short passing game.
Miami's defense, the third-stingiest in the NFL with 226 points allowed -- 14.1 per game -- will have to contend with the "Big Three" of Manning, James and Marvin Harrison.
Manning led the league in passing with 4,413 yards, eclipsing his own club record of 4,135 yards last season. He also set a team record with 33 TD passes, one more than Johnny Unitas' total in 1959.
James rushed for 1,709 yards, breaking Eric Dickerson's club single-season record of 1,659 in 1988. He has 35 career touchdowns, the most in NFL history for the first two years of a career.
Harrison finished with a league-high 102 receptions for 1,413 yards, making him only the fifth receiver to have back-to-back 100-catch seasons.
The Dolphins likely will match Pro Bowl cornerback Sam Madison on Harrison. Two weeks ago, Madison held Harrison to six catches for 47 yards.
The Dolphins fell 7,500 seats shy of a sellout at the Friday NFL deadline, so the league enforced its local blackout rule. The last time a playoff game was blacked out was Green Bay at Detroit in January 1994. The last time it happened in Miami was 17 years ago.
If the Colts win, they will visit the top-seeded Tennessee Titans (13-3) in the divisional playoffs.
If the Dolphins win, they will visit the Oakland Raiders (12-4) in the divisional playoffs.
Miami leads the all-time series, 42-21.