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Colts need ten different games to go their way in order to make the playoffs

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The Colts need ten different games to go their way in order to make the playoffs, which according to ESPN gives them a 3,326-to-1 chance at making the postseason.

Andrew Innerarity-USA TODAY Sports

The Colts are still alive in the playoff race, though they are clinging to an incredibly small sliver of hope.  According to ESPN, the Colts need ten games to go right in order to win the AFC South and make the playoffs, which puts their odds at 3,326-to-1 at making the postseason.

If you're a Han Solo fan (I am) and want to say, "never tell me the odds!" here are the results that the Colts need to happen in order to make the playoffs.  The Colts' only hope at making the postseason is to win the AFC South (as they cannot make it as a wild card) and if these ten games all go the right way, that will happen.

Denver Broncos beat Cincinnati Bengals (week 16)

Indianapolis Colts beat Tennessee Titans (week 17)

Pittsburgh Steelers beat Cleveland Browns (week 17)

Denver Broncos beat San Diego Chargers (week 17)

Atlanta Falcons beat New Orleans Saints (week 17)

Buffalo Bills beat New York Jets (week 17)

Jacksonville Jaguars beat Houston Texans (week 17)

Miami Dolphins beat New England Patriots (week 17)

Baltimore Ravens beat Cincinnati Bengals (week 17)

Oakland Raiders beat Kansas City Chiefs (week 17)

Here's how that all would work: the Colts obviously need to win and the Texans obviously need to lose next week in order for them to both end up with an 8-8 record.  It would then go to tiebreakers, and the two teams would be tied on the first three (head-to-head, winning percentage against the division, winning percentage against common opponents, and winning percentage against conference opponents).  It then goes to the fifth tiebreaker, the strength of victory, and as ESPN points out, when you take away the common victories and the victories against each other, it would then come down to three wins each for each team (the Texans against the Bengals, Saints, and Jets and the Colts against the Broncos, Flacons, and Dolphins).  That's why there are so many games involved here - the Colts need those three teams they beat to win and those three teams the Texans beat to lose.  It would then go to the sixth tiebreaker, the strength of schedule, and factoring in the other results needed for the fifth tiebreaker, the Colts would also need the Chiefs to lose and the Steelers to win.

If all of that happens, the Colts will win the AFC South and will be hosting a playoff game in Wild Card weekend.  If any one of those games doesn't turn out the way the Colts need it to, the Texans will be AFC South champions.  So, in other words, when we say that the Colts have a very small chance, you can begin to see just how small of a chance that actually is.  The Colts need a ton of help, as they have to win their game next week and also have nine other games (including the final game of week 16) to go their way or else they will be officially eliminated.

As of right now, however, the Colts are still alive - barely.  Depending on tonight's game, though, that might not last long, and even if the Broncos win tonight, the Colts face an incredibly tall task at making the playoffs.