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NFL: DEC 10 Colts at Bengals

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INDIANAPOLIS – The Colts still have a playoff spot, but their postseason chances dropped to around a coin flip after losing to the Bengals in Week 14.

At 7-6, the Colts still have the 7th and final Wild Card spot with 4 weeks remaining this season. If the playoffs started today, the Colts would travel to Miami to take on the No. 2 seed Dolphins.

Per the New York Times playoff predictor, the Colts currently have a 41 percent chance at making the playoffs. That number could fluctuate by about 43 percent depending on the win/loss result versus the Steelers this Saturday (63% if Colts win, 20% if Colts lose).

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

  • With the Jaguars losing again in Week 14, we will continue to keep an eye on the AFC South. At 8-5, the Jaguars still have a one-game lead over the Colts and Texans. Jacksonville would win a three-way tiebreaker over the Colts and Texans, and they also have the head-to-head tiebreaker over Indianapolis thanks to a season sweep. For the Colts to finish ahead of the Jaguars, they’ll need one of these three situations to happen: go 4-0 in the final 4 weeks and have the Jaguars go 2-2 or worse; go 3-1 in the final 4 weeks and have the Jaguars go 1-3 or 0-4; or go 2-2 in the final 4 weeks and have the Jaguars go 0-4. The Jaguars finish with Ravens, at Buccaneers, Panthers, at Titans.


  • The Colts are one of 6 AFC teams currently with a record of 7-6 and just 2 of those teams are in the playoffs right now. That’s wild. Again, one of the biggest things in the Colts favor down the stretch (along with a favorable quarterback schedule) is the fact they are 5-4 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.


  • Why are the Steelers atop the group of 7-6 teams right now? They have the best AFC record among those six 7-6 teams, along with the Colts, at 5-4. The next tiebreaker (for now) is “common games” and the Steelers have a 5-4 record in those, compared to 5-5 for the Colts. Of course, these two teams meet on Saturday, so the head-to-head tiebreaker will be decided then. If you look at the six 7-6 teams, here are they ranked in terms of hardest schedules the rest of the way: Steelers (8th), Bengals (9th), Bills (15th), Texans (19th), Colts (20th), Broncos (26th).


  • One potential issues for the Colts is they have already lost head-to-head tiebreakers to the Jaguars (4th), Browns (5th) and Bengals (10th), with another one up for grabs this Saturday against the Steelers (6th). The Colts do have a head-to-head tiebreaker over the Ravens (10-3), but that’s not looking like it’ll matter with them on track to win the AFC North. So, the Colts benefit more from having multiple teams tied together (like is the case heading into Week 15) versus just one other team.


  • Along with this coming Saturday, the season finale for the Colts also carries a ton of playoff weight. The Colts and Texans in Week 18 currently has playoff weight at 44 percent depending on a win or loss.


  • If you want a closer look at the NFL’s tiebreaker procedures for the playoffs, head here.

Here’s a look at the AFC standings with 4 weeks remaining:


Division Leaders (overall record, conference record, New York Times playoff odds)

1. Ravens (10-3, 6-3, 99%): at Jaguars, at 49ers, Dolphins, Steelers

2. Dolphins (9-4, 6-3, 97%): Jets, Cowboys, at Ravens, Bills

3. Chiefs (8-5, 6-2, 99%):  at Patriots, Raiders, Bengals, at Chargers

4. Jaguars (8-5, 6-4, 99%): Ravens, at Buccaneers, Panthers, at Titans


Wild Card Teams

5. Browns (8-5, 6-3, 86%): Bears, at Texans, Jets, at Bengals

6. Steelers (7-6, 5-4, 25%): at Colts, Bengals, at Seahawks, at Ravens

7. Colts (7-6, 5-4, 44%): Steelers, at Falcons, Raiders Texans 


Outside Looking In

8. Texans (7-6, 4-4, 35%): at Titans, Browns, Titans, at Colts

9. Broncos (7-6, 4-5, 48%): at Lions, Patriots, Chargers, at Raiders

10. Bengals (7-6, 3-6, 25%): Vikings, at Steelers, at Chiefs, Browns

11. Bills (7-6, 4-5, 49%): Cowboys, at Chargers, Patriots, at Dolphins


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