The Indianapolis Colts Path to the Playoffs: Who to Root For, Week 16

With Week 15 in the books, let's take a look at the AFC Playoff picture, where the Colts stand, and who to root for in Week 16, in our weekly look at the Colts Path to the Playoffs:

Place Team Record
1st z – Houston Texans 12-2
2nd z – Denver Broncos 11-3
3rd z – New England Patriots 10-4
4th x – Baltimore Ravens 9-5
5th Indianapolis Colts 9-5
6th Cincinnati Bengals 8-6
7th Pittsburgh Steelers 7-7

With week 15 losses from the Jets and Steelers, the Colts are the most "clinched nonclinched playoff team" in the history of history, with a ~99.97% to make the playoffs. In fact, there's only one scenario, involving every NFL game over the final 2 weeks, in which the Colts can miss out on the playoffs. You can view that scenario here, and it comes courtesy of Matt Grecco of Stampede Blue.

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 16 (Teams to root for in BOLD):

Indianapolis at Kansas City –  1 Colts win over the final 2 weeks makes it official, sidestepping weird tie breaker scenarios. A win is also important, because the Colts want to secure the #5 seed and a trip to Baltimore (the #6 seed would likely earn them a trip to New England, a much harder 1st-round match-up)

Tennessee at Green Bay and Jacksonville vs New England – A win by either the Titans or the Jaguars actually secures a playoff spot for the Colts, so there's that. On top of the clinching scenario, I've also been pretty steadfast in rooting for our divisional rivals to hurt their draft stock via wins. If anyone watched even a minute of either team this past week, you know they are severely lacking high-end talent, and in desperate need of the talent infusion a high pick can bring.

Houston vs Minnesota – They've clinched the division, now let's get them to clinch the #1 seed. While the Colts are likely 1-and-done in the playoffs, I believe their best chance to make some noise in the post-season is to face Baltimore in round 1 and Houston in round 2. Sure, Houston soundly beat them, but I felt like that was a game the Colts could have taken if they cleaned up just a few of their mistakes. I certainly like their chances against Houston more than their chances against either Denver or New England.

Pittsburgh vs Cincinnati –  If Cincinnati wins, the Colts clinch the playoffs. That's obviously the first goal, but as we've discussed, a lot of things have to break in an exact manner for the Colts to miss the playoffs at this point, so I'm rooting for this game based on seeding. If Cincinnati wins, they are still alive to catch the Colts for the #5 seed, a Pittsburgh win puts both teams at 8-7 and makes it harder (but not impossible) for the Colts to fall to #6.