With only five weeks left in the 2016 season the Indianapolis Colts are just 5-6, but they’re also right in the midst of a tight race for the AFC South title.
The Colts are in third place in the division, but they’re only a half game back of the Tennessee Titans, who are 6-6 (and the Colts own the tiebreaker) and close to the Houston Texans, who are 6-5. If things go well for the Colts they could actually take over first place in just a couple of weeks by beating the Texans on December 11. It’s not guaranteed, but there’s a very possible scenario. So if the Colts take care of business in the final few weeks, they have a very real shot of making the playoffs.
“Yeah, it’s all right there,” head coach Chuck Pagano said today. “Again, it’s on us and we can’t count on anybody else so we control what we can control. That’s our preparation and how we play. We’re focused on one game and one game only. Trying to get one win and that’s the next one.”
In order to make the playoffs, however, the Colts will need to be more consistent over the final five weeks than they’ve been in the first eleven games of the season. Only once this year have the Colts strung together back-to-back wins, but they’ll need to be at that level in the last five weeks. That’s the problem for the Colts right now: they’ve eliminated their margin for error and simply must produce.
“Yeah, like I told them, there is no margin for error,” Pagano said. “You said it exactly right. We have had our ups and had our downs and that’s life in the NFL. That’s life in general. It’s all how you respond, so I expect these guys to respond like they usually do.”
Hopefully the Colts actually respond better than they usually do, and if they’re able to do that and are able to string together a number of wins to finish this season, they’ll be in good shape to win the AFC South and get back to the playoffs. But they have no margin for error, meaning they’ll need to be at the top of their game in December.