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NFL: DEC 03 Colts at Titans

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INDIANAPOLIS – The Colts playoff chances continue to become a real conversation, and a second avenue to make the postseason is starting to appear off into the distance.

At 7-5, the Colts have the 7th and final Wild Card spot with 5 weeks remaining this season. If the playoffs started today, the Colts would travel to Baltimore to take on the No. 2 seed Ravens.

Per the New York Times playoff predictor, the Colts currently have a 65 percent chance at making the playoffs. That number could fluctuate by about 29 percent depending on the win/loss result versus the Bengals this Sunday (80% if Colts win, 51% if Colts lose). With Cincinnati winning on Monday night, this Sunday’s matchup between the Colts (7-5) and Bengals (6-6) is a huge one in giving one of those two teams a head-to-head tiebreaker.

A couple of things to note on the Colts’ current situation:

  • With the Jaguars at 8-4, should we start to keep an eye on the AFC South picture, on top of the Wild Card race? This storyline changed a whole lot on Monday night, with the Jaguars not only losing, but also seeing Trevor Lawrence suffer what looked to be a potentially serious ankle injury. Yes, the Colts (7-5) have already lost the head-to-head tiebreaker by being swept by the Jaguars this season, so it’s going to take several more Jacksonville losses/Colts wins in order for that to happen, but we will monitor this division race moving forward. This is the Jaguars schedule the rest of the way: at Browns, Ravens, at Buccaneers, Panthers, at Titans. If the Jaguars, Colts and Texans all finish tied at the end of the season, the Jags would win that tiebreaker (they are 3-1 in games played between the three teams; the Colts and Texans are both 1-2 in those games).


  • The Colts got great results on Sunday in Week 13, with both the Steelers and Browns losing games to NFC teams.


  • If you look ahead to next Saturday with the Steelers, that game is monumental for the Colts playoff chances. Currently, that game carries a 41 percent playoff weight with it—85 percent if the Colts win, 44 percent if the Colts lose. That game is even ahead of the Colts season finale with the Texans, which currently sits at 35 percent of playoff weight.


  • One of the biggest things in the Colts favor down the stretch (along with a favorable quarterback schedule) is the fact they are 5-3 in the AFC. The conference tiebreaker is the first Wild Card tiebreaker between teams who didn’t play against each other this year and aren’t in the same division. The Colts are well-positioned with this tiebreaker, particularly when you compare them to the teams outside the current playoff picture.


  • If you look at the current standings, the Colts still have games remaining against teams slotted No. 5 (Steelers), No. 8 (Texans), No. 10 (Bengals) and No. 12 (Raiders). If the Colts can get 3 of these wins, that should definitely secure them of a playoff spot. Even 2 wins would greatly aid their hopes, especially if one of those wins is in the season finale over the Texans.


  • Look at those seven teams at 7-5/6-6, wouldn’t you take the Colts schedule/quarterback slate over any of those other teams? Outside of the Texans, I’m not sure you could make that strong of a case for any other opposing schedule down the stretch. It’s a golden, golden opportunity for the Colts, especially with the Texans coming to Lucas Oil Stadium for the season finale.


Here’s a look at the AFC standings with 5 weeks remaining:


Division Leaders (conference record, New York Times Playoff odds)

1. Dolphins (9-3, 6-2, 99%): Titans, Jets, Cowboys, at Ravens, Bills

2. Ravens (9-3, 6-3, 99%): Rams, at Jaguars, at 49ers, Dolphins, Steelers

3. Chiefs (8-4, 6-1, 99%): Bills, at Patriots, Raiders, Bengals, at Chargers

4. Jaguars (8-4, 6-3, 96%): at Browns, Ravens, at Buccaneers, Panthers, at Titans


Wild Card Teams

5. Steelers (7-5, 5-3, 52%): Patriots, at Colts, Bengals, at Seahawks, at Ravens

6. Browns (7-5, 5-3, 59%): Jaguars, Bears, at Texans, Jets, at Bengals

7. Colts (7-5, 5-3, 65%): at Bengals, Steelers, at Falcons, Raiders Texans


Outside Looking In

8. Texans (7-5, 4-3, 80%): at Jets, at Titans, Browns, Titans, at Colts

9. Broncos (6-6, 3-5, 21%): at Chargers, at Lions, Patriots, Chargers, at Raiders

10. Bengals (6-6, 2-6, 7%): Colts, Vikings, at Steelers, at Chiefs, Browns

11. Bills (6-6, 3-5, 15%): at Chiefs, Cowboys, at Chargers, Patriots, at Dolphins

12. Raiders (5-7, 3-5, 1%): Vikings, Chargers, at Chiefs, at Colts, Broncos

13. Chargers (5-7, 3-4, 7%): Broncos, at Raiders, Bills, at Broncos, Chiefs

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