The Indianapolis Colts don’t play until tomorrow night, but today they got something pretty close to a victory: a Houston Texans loss.
The Texans lost 21-13 to the Green Bay Packers earlier today in a snowy game at Lambeau Field, which drops them to 6-6 on the season. That’s significant, because with a win on Monday night against the New York Jets the Colts would also improve to 6-6 on the season, while the Tennessee Titans - who are on a bye week this week - are also 6-6. So in other words, if Indy can beat the 3-8 Jets tomorrow night, there will be a three-way tie atop the AFC South with four weeks to go.
In terms of tiebreakers, the Texans would still retain the top spot thanks to a tiebreaker over the Colts, while the Colts would have the tiebreaker over the Titans. But the Colts and the Texans will meet next week at Lucas Oil Stadium, so if the Colts find a way to win on Monday night that game next week will be for first place in the division. The stakes will be incredibly high, and the Texans and Packers did their parts to help the Colts out. Now, the Colts will just have to take care of their own business this week - which is never a given. I’m not sure any Colts fan is confident in the Colts winning five in a row to finish the season, but if they do that they’re in the playoffs.
The Colts have the path to the postseason clearly laid out in front of them right now, as they now control their own destiny. Win their remaining five games, and they’re in. But they’ve been very inconsistent this year, so they’ll need to pick up their play over the next few weeks to take advantage of it. It remains to be seen whether they will do that or not, but the Texans loss today definitely helps their cause.
What about the other AFC South team, you ask? That would be the Jacksonville Jaguars, who lost to the Denver Broncos today to fall to 2-10 on the season. With that loss, they have now been officially eliminated from playoff contention. It’s been a nightmare season for the Jaguars who have taken several steps back, so while the other three AFC South teams could be in a three-way tie for first at the end of this week, the Jaguars have already been eliminated from contention.