Things are getting really interesting atop the AFC South to close out the season, as the Jacksonville Jaguars, Indianapolis Colts, and Houston Texans all sit at 8-7 atop the division—with just two games left to play in the 2023 campaign.
The starting quarterback situation for each team could definitely impact matters though as Jaguars starting quarterback Trevor Lawrence has already been ruled out with a shoulder injury for Week 17, while Texans rookie C.J. Stroud has cleared the league’s concussion protocol after two weeks—and will start for Houston against the Tennessee Titans.
Unfortunately, the Jaguars already hold the tiebreaker over the Colts for winning the division, as Jacksonville swept Indianapolis this year and controls the head-to-head record.
Right now, the Colts do have the tiebreaker over the Texans, having beaten Houston on the road in Week 2. However, the two teams meet in the season finale, which could essentially amount to a ‘do or die’ game for Indianapolis as it relates to extending their 2023 season.
The Colts largely do control their own destiny though (6-4 in the AFC will do that), as they cling to the AFC’s final wild card spot and should retain that berth (or better)—if they can win their final two games (*assuming the Cincinnati Bengals [@KC, CLE] don’t win out, coupled with a Pittsburgh Steelers loss [@SEA, @BAL], and the Jaguars not losing).
It essentially comes down to ‘win and you’re likely in’ for Indianapolis, as the rest of the potential AFC playoff scenarios may require help from other teams (which is never a fortuitous situation for any NFL postseason hopeful to be in).