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NFL Playoff Picture: Colts still have a slim chance

NFL: Indianapolis Colts at Minnesota Vikings Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

We’re almost through week 15 of the 2016 NFL season, meaning we’re coming up on the postseason! Some teams have already clinched, while a number of others are still fighting for spots.

The New England Patriots have already clinched their division and a first round bye in the AFC, while the Oakland Raiders, Dallas Cowboys, and Seattle Seahawks have all also clinched playoff spots (with Seattle having clinched their division). The rest of the spots are still up for grab in both conferences, which should make for an interesting final two weeks.

For the Indianapolis Colts, their hopes are barely alive after their big win yesterday, since both the Texans and Titans also won. In order to win their division, the Colts will need to win out, have the Titans lose next week and win in week 17, and have the Texans lose out (the Titans and Texans play each other in week 17). If all of that happens the Colts could win their division, but the hardest part of that scenario might actually be Indy winning each of their next two games. And they’re not completely ruled out of the wild card scenario either, as there’s still a slim chance they could get the sixth seed. If the Colts win out and the Dolphins lose out, they would both have identical 9-5 records. They would be even on the conference tiebreaker and the common opponents in that scenario, and the Colts would have the edge in strength of victory. But, that scenario also assumes that teams like the Broncos lose out. In short, it’s best to just assume that the Colts don’t have a shot at getting the wild card because of how many things have to go right for them - but mathematically, they’re still (barely) alive.

To sum it all up, it looks incredibly likely that the Colts will be watching the playoffs at home for the second straight year. But there’s still a chance, if you want to cling to that hope.

Here’s the full AFC playoff picture:

  1. New England Patriots (12-2, AFC East)
  2. Oakland Raiders (11-3, AFC West)
  3. Pittsburgh Steelers (9-5, AFC North)
  4. Houston Texans (8-6, AFC South)
  5. Kansas City Chiefs (10-4)
  6. Miami Dolphins (9-5)
  7. Baltimore Ravens (8-6)
  8. Tennessee Titans (8-6)
  9. Denver Broncos (8-6)
  10. Indianapolis Colts (7-7)
  11. Buffalo Bills (7-7)

And here’s the NFC playoff picture, though this could change depending on how tonight’s game goes:

  1. Dallas Cowboys (12-2, NFC East)
  2. Seattle Seahawks (9-4-1, NFC West)
  3. Atlanta Falcons (9-5, NFC South)
  4. Detroit Lions (9-5, NFC North)
  5. New York Giants (10-4)
  6. Washington Redskins (7-5-1)
  7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (8-6)
  8. Green Bay Packers (8-6)
  9. Minnesota Vikings (7-7)
  10. New Orleans Saints (6-8)
  11. Carolina Panthers (5-8)