With Week 13 in the books, let's take a look at the AFC Playoff picture, where the Colts stand, and who to root for in Week 14, in our weekly look at the Colts Path to the Playoffs:
|3rd||New England Patriots||9-3|
We've been itching to make this a 3-team race, and with the Colts magical comeback and the Dolphins loss, we have! I may be jumping the gun slightly on the Jets, but their biggest "ace in the hole" is the head-to-head tie breaker over the Colts, which would likely be irrelevant even if the Jets were able to run the table and get to 9-7 AND the Colts only won 1 of their next 4 games.
See, the head-to-head tie breaker only applies if 2, and ONLY 2, teams finish with the same record, which is a scenario I just don't see playing out. If the Colts and Jets are both 9-7, both the Bengals and Steelers will have equal or better records, either eliminating the Colts and Jets from the playoffs, or creating a 3-or-more-team tie breaker. In that scenario, Conference records would come into play, not head-to-head records.
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 14 (Teams to root for in BOLD):
Colts vs. Titans - =)
Broncos at Raiders – I would least like to face the Broncos. As a Manning fan, let's give his arm a week off in the playoffs.
Cowboys at Bengals – The Bengals are scary, they just won't lose and go away! The Cowboys aren't good, I doubt they keep this game close, and I hate them and their media coverage with the heat of a million suns, but… HOW BOUT DEM COWBOYS? Ugh.
Jaguars vs Jets – The Jets still have a chance of ruining the Colts party, via their head-to-head tie breaker. Plus, a Jaguars victory is win-win: it would eliminate the Jets and it would hurt the Jaguars draft position! Go Chad Henne!
Chargers at Steelers – Seriously, Ravens? You couldn't beat the Chuck Batch-lead Steelers? I have a feeling the Steelers are going to be an uncomfortable thorn in the Colts' side for the rest of the year, and about the only drive you can count on the Chargers completing is to the golf course in January, but we need to ask Norv and Phil for a favor one more time. Prepare for disappointment.
Patriots vs Texans – I went back and forth on this one for 10 minutes. I struggled. The prevailing thought is that if the Texans have clinched home-field advantage in week 17, they'd rest their starters and allow the Colts an opportunity for an easier win. But you know what? If the Colts beat the Titans, and the Patriots beat the Texans, the Colts control their own fate in the division. I'm tired of putting caveats and qualifiers here. Why settle for the wildcard when you can have it all?