INDIANAPOLIS – The simple way into the dance is this: JUST BEAT (or tie) THE JAGUARS.
But the Colts can also get into the playoffs via a season finale loss, although that coming as a 15.5 point road favorite would be a historic defeat.
If the Colts (9-6) beat the Jaguars (2-14) in Jacksonville on Sunday afternoon, they will clinch a playoff spot for the third time in four years under Frank Reich.
At 9-7, the Colts are still in the 5th spot of the AFC (remember, the NFL has 18 weeks/17 games this season). If the playoffs started today, the Colts would travel to take on the No. 3 seed Bengals in the Wild Card Round of the Playoffs.
Here are the 3 ways the Colts can make the playoffs:
-Win/tie over Jags
-Lose to Jags + Chargers loss (at Raiders) + Steelers loss (at Ravens) + Dolphins win (vs. Patriots)
-Lose to Jags + Chargers loss (at Raiders) + Steelers/Ravens tie
Currently, the Colts have an 89 percent chance at making the playoffs (per FiveThirtyEight). That number falls to 15 percent with a stunning loss to the Jaguars.
The 9-7 Colts are currently ahead of the 9-7 Chargers and 9-7 Raiders, because those two AFC West teams break a tiebreaker via their head-to-head results (Chargers has that). So the Colts then have the better conference record over the Chargers, so that’s why they are ahead of that 3-team group.
Here’s a look at the AFC standings with 1 week remaining:
1. Titans (11-5, 7-4; clinched AFC South): @Texans
2. Chiefs (11-5, 6-5; clinched AFC West): @Broncos
3. Bengals (10-6, 8-3; clinched AFC North): @Browns
4. Bills (10-6, 6-5; clinched playoff spot): Jets
Wild Card Teams
5. Patriots (10-6, 8-3; clinched playoff spot): @Dolphins
6. Colts (9-7, 7-4): @Jaguars
7. Chargers (9-7, 6-5): @Raiders
Outside Looking In
Raiders (9-7, 7-4): Chargers
Steelers (8-7-1, 6-5): @Ravens
Ravens (8-8, 5-6): Steelers