INDIANAPOLIS – There’s a chance the Colts return from their bye week and find themselves in the AFC playoffs with four games to go.
At 7-6, the Colts are currently in the 9th spot of the AFC with Week 14 here (remember, the NFL has 18 weeks/17 games this season).
They currently sit just one game back in the loss column of the 3 Wild Card teams. The Bills, Chargers and Bengals are all 7-5 on the season and currently occupy the final three Wild Card spots.
With another conference win on Sunday, the Colts continue to strengthen an important tiebreaker with a 6-3 record in the AFC.
Per FiveThirtyEight, the Colts have a 64 percent chance at making the playoffs. That number could fluctuate by more than 40 percent depending on the win/loss result versus the Patriots.
Still, anything short of a 3-1 finish to the season and the Colts are going to be needing mountains of help to get into the postseason.
A couple of things to note on the Colts’ current situation:
-Continue to cheer for the division leaders to win, especially when playing fellow Wild Card teams. If you look at the Chiefs, all 5 of their final games are against teams currently in the Wild Card mix. Simply, the Colts should want the Chiefs to win every week.
-The magic number for the Titans (8-4) to clinch the AFC South is 3. That’s a combination of Titans wins and Colts losses in the final 5 weeks of the season.
-The Patriots are the lone AFC team that has a better conference record than the Colts. That’s huge for the Colts in establishing tiebreakers against teams they didn’t play.
Here’s a look at the AFC standings with 5 weeks remaining (overall record, conference record):
1. Patriots (9-4, 7-1): @Colts, Bills, Jaguars, @Dolphins
2. Titans (8-4, 5-3): Jaguars, @Steelers, 49ers, Dolphins, @Texans
3. Ravens (8-4, 5-4): @Browns, Packers, @Bengals, Rams, Steelers
4. Chiefs (8-4, 3-4): Raiders, @Chargers, Steelers, @Bengals, @Broncos
Wild Card Teams
5. Chargers (7-5, 5-3): Giants, Chiefs, @Texans, Broncos, @Raiders
6. Bengals (7-5, 5-3): 49ers, @Broncos, Ravens, Chiefs, @Browns
7. Bills (7-5, 5-5): @Bucs, Panthers, @Patriots, Falcons, Jets
Outside Looking In
Colts (7-6, 6-3): Patriots, @Cardinals, Raiders, @Jaguars
Raiders (6-6, 4-3): @Chiefs, @Browns, Broncos, @Colts, Chargers
Steelers (6-6-1, 4-4): Titans, @Chiefs, Browns, @Ravens
Browns (6-6, 3-5): Ravens, Raiders, @Packers, @Steeers, Bengals
Broncos (6-6, 3-5): Lions, Bengals, @Raiders, @Chargers, Chiefs
Dolphins (6-7, 4-5): Jets, @Saints, @Titans, Patriots