This is a good weekend for the AFC South, as the division will go 3-1 in games today with the only loss coming against another AFC South team.
Earlier today, the Tennessee Titans defeated the Cleveland Browns 28-16 and the Jacksonville Jaguars defeated the Chicago Bears 17-16, paving the way for a good weekend for the division in advance of tonight’s matchup between the Indianapolis Colts and the Houston Texans.
Because of the other results, however, it makes tonight’s game even bigger for the Colts, and here’s why: if they win, they’re in first place in the AFC South. If they lose, they’re in last place.
That’s all because of technicalities and tiebreakers, though. With a win, the Colts would improve to 3-3 and the Texans would fall to 3-3, joining the 3-3 Titans in a three-way tie for first. But because of the tiebreakers, the Colts would have the technical hold of first place, as they’d have the head-to-head tiebreaker on the Texans and the division record tiebreaker on the Titans. With a loss, however, the Colts would fall to 2-4, which would place them all alone in last place, since the Jaguars have fewer losses (they’re 2-3 but have already had their bye week).
On the one hand, this fact could make tonight’s game less important because it shows how close the division is - if one game determines whether the Colts are in first or last, losing this game to fall to last doesn’t doom their season. But on the other hand, this fact could also make tonight’s game more important because the team can’t just keep digging themselves in holes and putting themselves in last place in the division.
So no, this game won’t doom the Colts season if they lose, nor will it ensure a playoff berth if they win. But make no mistake, this is a key game, and that can be seen by simply looking at the standings.