With Week 14 in the books, let's take a look at the AFC Playoff picture, where the Colts stand, and who to root for in Week 15, in our weekly look at the Colts Path to the Playoffs:
|2nd||New England Patriots||10-3|
Week 14 played out about as well as the Colts could have hoped: the Ravens, Bengals, and Steelers lost, and the Colts won. At 9-4, the Colts magic number is 1. What that means, is if the Colts win any of their next 3 games, they will be in the 2012 post-season. But there are scenarios out there that allow the Colts to get in even if the unthinkable happened and they went 0-3 to close out the season. With those scenarios , as well as the unlikely, but still possible, scenario that sees the Colts winning the division in mind, we'll continue to look at this week's key match-ups, and tell you who you should be rooting for!
Key Games for Week 14 (Teams to root for in BOLD):
Colts at Texans – If the Colts beat the Texans, their slim division hopes remain alive, they clinch a playoff spot, AND, if you develop selective amnesia, you can trick yourself into believing their insane streak of consecutive 10-win seasons remains in tact!
Eagles vs Bengals – Very unlikely since, despite their win against Tampa Bay, the Eagles remain one of the worst teams in the NFL, but another loss by the Bengals would not only push the Colts playoff chances that much closer, but it would also serve to eliminate the Bengals, who may be a better team than the Ravens at this point, from playoff contention.
Broncos at Ravens – I think the Ravens are the weakest of the top-4 seeds, and the best possible match-up for Indianapolis should they fail to win the division. With that in mind, I want the Ravens to lose enough to secure that 4 seed, but not so much that they fall out of the division lead, as I think Pittsburgh and Cincinnati have better defenses at this point. A Denver win is a bonus, as it would push the Broncos closer to a BYE and further away from the Colts.
Jaguars vs Dolphins – I dislike the Jaguars. A win hurts their draft position. CHAD HENNE FOR ANOTHER YEAR!
Cowboys vs Steelers – Same as the Bengals: a Steelers loss just pushes the Colts that much closer to clinching (and makes it easier for them to keep the 5th seed and that match-up with the Ravens). It also serves to keep the Steelers from vaulting the Ravens for the AFC North crown AND, bonus, it's another win for the Cowboys which hurts their draft position and makes it more likely that they'll keep Jason Garrett!
Titans vs Jets – The Jets are the fly in the Colts clinching ointment. New York is the only "chasing team" which holds the head-to-head tie breaker over the Colts, and their ridiculously easy closing schedule (Titans, Chargers, Bills) means you have to be concerned that they win out. And a bonus: like the Jaguars, a Titans win here hurts their draft position, and I'm all about the Colts division rivals not improving.