Lost? Confused? Need a map? As Colts fans we are in new and unfamiliar territory...
It's frightening I know. We aren't used to the pressure and stresses of regular season football. In fact, according to Bob Kravitz's article, the last time the Colts faced a regular season must win game was 2000. Now a decade later we are in a similar position.
Fortunately, unlike back then, we still control our own destiny - win and we're in.
Currently its an easy formula, but another loss and things could get complicated. As of now here is how we stand.
At 6-6 the Colts are a game behind the Jacksonville Jaguars who are 7-5. The Colts also trail in the divisional standings. Having split with the Texans and lost to the Jags already the Colts are a paltry 1-2 while Jacksonville is 3-1 with wins over us and Houston and a series spilt with Tennessee.
If the Colts win out, none of that matters. With 3 divisional games left the Colts would move to 4-2 within the AFC South. Even if both teams finished 10-6 (for those of you who live under a rock - the Colts play Jacksonville next week) the Colts would earn the tie-break because we have a better record against similar opponents. The Colts beat Kansas City and the Giants, both games which Jacksonville lost.
Pulled from NFL.com here are the procedures from determining the tie-break (There are 12 total but it is highly improbable it will even come down to 6).
1. Head-to-head (best won-lost-tied percentage in games between the clubs).
2. Best won-lost-tied percentage in games played within the division.
3. Best won-lost-tied percentage in common games.
4. Best won-lost-tied percentage in games played within the conference.
5. Strength of victory.
6. Strength of schedule.
Right now, the best possible scenario is to win out and and have Kansas City trip up, allowing us to sneak in and steal the 3rd seed.
This would give us home field advantage for at least a game. We would also theoretically play the easier team although at the moment, the way we are playing, neither the Ravens or Jets sound particularly appealing.
Either way, the road to the playoffs is clear: Win and we're in. That starts tonight in Tennessee.