With Week 12 in the books, let's take a look at the AFC Playoff picture, where the Colts stand, and who to root for in Week 13, in our weekly look at the Colts Path to the Playoffs:
|3rd||New England Patriots||8-3|
|9th||San Diego Chargers||4-7|
The first thing you should notice is that we've thinned the field considerably. Last week our list included 12 teams, but we've dropped the Titans, Jets, and Raiders following their Week 12 losses. I honestly believe that the Dolphins and Chargers are too far out of it to matter, but I've included them for two reasons: 1) Miami is still within striking distance, and with the schedule both the Steelers and Bengals will face, along with the injury to Roethlisberger, I don't think you can totally count them out just yet and 2) San Diego plays the Bengals and Steelers the next 2 weeks. If they can win both of those games, they'll be at 6-7 and have an outside chance of being tied with one or both of those teams.
After the jump we'll look at this week's key match-ups and who Colts fans should be rooting for!
Key Games for Week 13 (Teams to root for in BOLD):
Colts vs. Lions – duh
Jaguars at Bills – This has nothing to do with the Bills, who are out of the playoff picture in my mind. Instead, I'm cheering for the Jaguars to win the rest of their games and get the worst draft position possible. As one of our most hated rivals – through words, more than deeds – I want to see them be as bad for as long as possible.
Texans at Titans – If you want the Titans to win, I'm OK with that – I don't think there's any way Tennessee can overcome their own bad play as well as the herd of teams in front of them to make the playoffs. This "hope" is rooted in the thought that if the Texans have secured the #1 seed come week 17, they'll rest their starters against the Colts. I'm not actually convinced that will happen – I think the Texans may want to get the "Can't win in Indianapolis" Monkey off of their back, but there's no chance of it happening if they haven't secured the #1 seed, so…
Patriots at Dolphins – Kind of the same as the Texans – you don't HAVE to cheer for the Patriots, the Dolphins are 2 games back, plus the Colts have the head-to-head tie breaker. That said, I would like for teams to be eliminated as soon as possible, and one more loss should do that for Miami.
Broncos vs Buccaneers – I DON'T WANT TO FACE PEYTON MANNING IN THE PLAYOFFS.
Chargers vs Bengals – A Bengals win totally eliminates the Chargers, but let's be honest, the odds of the chargers going 5-0 and the teams in front of them tanking are slim, so let's root for Norval Redenbacher and Philly to help us out the next two weeks.
Ravens vs Steelers – I'm going to start rooting for the Ravens to start losing very soon – they are the only playoff match-up I feel the Colts have a real chance of winning – but not this week. If the Steelers lose, falling to 6-6, it would obviously provide some breathing room for the Colts, who don't have a cake walk of a schedule down the stretch.