The Colts are fighting with 3 other teams for the last AFC Wild Card spot:
The Browns are playing the Bengals this week. They’re favored by 10 points, but if they were to lose, you can kick them out of the running. They play the Cardinals, Ravens and Bengals (again) in the final 3 weeks. If they lose one of those games, they’re essentially out. Their chances of making it in are very low.
The Raiders are playing the Titans this week. The Titans are favored to win by 3 points. The Raiders hold the tiebreaker over the Colts, but don’t have the toughest schedule coming in with games against the Jaguars, Chargers and Broncos (the last 2 being on the road) in the final 3 weeks. The Titans, on the other hand, have games against the Texans twice and Saints in the final 3 weeks.
You should root for the Titans over the Raiders for a few reasons:
- The Colts hold the tiebreaker over the Titans.
- The Raiders hold the tiebreaker over the Colts.
- The Titans have a much harder remaining schedule than the Raiders.
The Texans play the Broncos this week at home and a win would get them to 9-4, which could get them in position to play for the division title in Week 15 against the Titans in Tennessee. They are favored to win by 10 points. It looks like the Texans are pulling away with the division. If the Colts win out and the Texans lose two of the next four games, including one against Tennessee, the Colts would win the division, so it isn’t over yet.
Finally, the most dangerous team is the Pittsburgh Steelers, who have a game and the tiebreaker over the Colts. They play the Arizona Cardinals this week on the road. They are favored to win by 2.5 points. With games against the Cardinals, Bills, Jets and Ravens, Colts fans should be cheering against the Steelers every week, as there are no conflicts of any type. If the Steelers win three of the next 4 games, they’ll most likely be in the playoffs. If they win two of the next 4, they’ll have a good chance of getting in, as they hold a tiebreaker over everyone. If they only win one, then they won’t make it into the playoffs.
The Colts don’t need to win out to make the playoffs, although that would obviously help tremendously. If they win 3 out of the next 4, they would have an ok chance of making it in (probably somewhere between 25% and 35%). Winning out would increase those chances to somewhere between 65% and 75%.
The Colts play the Buccaneers in Tampa this week before travelling to New Orleans to play the Saints. They finish off their last two weeks against Panthers at home and Jaguars on the road. The Colts are underdogs this week as the Buccaneers are favored to win by 3 points.
So, who should you rooting for this week?
Cardinals over Steelers
Titans over Raiders
Bengals over Browns
Colts over Buccaneers (duh)
If you’re interested in playing the scenario and matchups game, you can go on http://www.espn.com/nfl/playoffs/machine.