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Week 16 rooting guide for Colts fans still hoping for a playoff berth

NFL: Indianapolis Colts at Minnesota Vikings Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

Believe it or not, the Indianapolis Colts are still alive in the playoff hunt - but they need a lot of help.

In fact, they’re very close to being eliminated from the AFC South race, and that could very possibly happen today. Here’s what needs to happen today in order for the Colts to stay alive in the division heading into week 17:

  • Colts (7-7) beat the Raiders (11-3). It all starts here - if the Colts can’t take care of their own business, we don’t need to explore any further scenarios because the Colts would have eliminated themselves from contention in the division. They must make up two games on the Texans and one game on the Titans in the final two weeks, so they absolutely must win today. It won’t be easy, however, as they’re facing one of the best teams in the NFL in the Raiders.
  • Titans (8-6) lose to the Jaguars (2-12). The Colts have the tiebreaker edge over the Titans, but in order for that to matter the Titans and Colts will need to finish with the same record in order to force that tiebreaker. So they need the Titans to lose today, which would drop them to 8-7 - which, with a Colts win, would mean the two teams are tied record-wise. It’s worth noting that the Titans play at 1:00 p.m. ET today (which is before the Colts and the Texans play), so we could know before the Colts even kick off whether they’re still alive in the division. With the Titans facing the Texans next week, a win by either of them today would make it impossible for the Colts to finish ahead of both of them.
  • Texans (8-6) lose to the Bengals (5-8-1). The Colts don’t have the tiebreaker edge over the Texans, so they’ll need to actually finish with a better record than Houston, not just an equal one. In order for that to happen, the Texans will need to lose out and the Colts will need to win out, so that obviously means Houston has to lose today.

If all three of those scenarios happen today, then the Colts will still be alive heading into week 17! But if any one of them doesn’t happen, the Colts won’t have a chance of winning the AFC South.

The Colts are actually not completely out of the wild card picture yet, but those odds look even worse than their AFC South odds, if you can believe it. They’ll need teams like the Dolphins, Ravens, and Broncos to lose out, as if they get a ton of help like that there’s a chance they could win some tiebreakers. Really, though, just assume that it’s AFC South or bust for the Colts, because it’s incredibly unlikely that everything they need to happen actually happens for the wild card.

So there you have it - your rooting guide for today’s games. If you want the Colts to make the playoffs, be rooting big time for the Colts, Jaguars, and Bengals today.