For the first time since 2011 and just the second time in the last 14 seasons, the Indianapolis Colts will miss the playoffs.
It looked unlikely ever since the Colts lost 16-10 to the Houston Texans at Lucas Oil Stadium in week 15, as that game was always likely to determine the AFC South champion. Ever since then, the Colts have simply been desperately hoping that things go exactly the right way for them, and though it came down to the final week of the season, it is now official: the Texans are AFC South champions and the Colts will be watching the playoffs from home.
The Colts needed nine games to go exactly the right way for them today, so it seemed incredibly unlikely and all but certain. But the New Orleans Saints defeated the Atlanta Falcons 20-17 this afternoon, officially clinching the strength of victory tiebreaker for the Texans and giving them the AFC South title. The Texans are going to win today as well, however, so the tiebreaker wasn't even needed - but the Saints game concluded before the Texans game did, which is why that was when the Colts were eliminated.
The Colts made the playoffs in each of the first three seasons of the Chuck Pagano era after compiling three straight 11 win seasons and Indy won two straight AFC South titles while setting an NFL record for the longest win streak against a division (16 games). This year, however, Andrew Luck missed nine games and the Colts in turn missed the playoffs. The failure will almost certainly result in head coach Chuck Pagano losing his job and will lead to a number of other changes in Indianapolis this offseason as well.