Welcome to Who to Root For for Week 12 of the NFL season.
Each week I break down the schedule in grammatically incorrect fashion. That is, of course, unless you consider avoiding awkward constructions to be the heart of proper grammar in which case this column will be near and dear to your heart. Though it likely means you aren't a big football fan, in which case this will be irrelevant to your life.
What's At Stake: The Colts are currently holding the second seed in the AFC. They have a realistic chance to get a home game (top four seeds), a bye (top two seeds) and home field throughout the AFC playoffs (first seed). No matter what happens this weekend, the Colts will be no lower than the three seed in the AFC.
What It Will Take: Winning the South can be accomplished with wins each of the next two weeks. That ensures a home game in the playoffs. A bye will likely require a 12-4 finish. To get home field throughout, Indy would likely need at least 13 wins. That means a 6-0 finish.
EASY CALLS (Home team in bold)
Chargers over the Chiefs
KC likely won't win the West, but if they do, Indy will be in a seeding war.
Dolphins over the Panthers
Rams over the Bears
49ers over the Redskins
These are all minor games that help Indy's strength of victory and strength of schedule numbers for potential tiebreakers.
Raiders over the Titans
Indy is a mortal lock for the South crown, but this would but the division on ice.
Jets over the Ravens
Browns over the Steelers
Who would you rather face in the playoffs? Yeah, me too. Root for the Jets and Browns. I'd just as soon get rid of the ring bearers in this little fellowship of suck.
Texans over the Jaguars
Maybe Kubiak will save his job. That would rule.
Broncos over the Patriots
Look, you are going to root for Peyton anyway, but here's why it's best for Indy. The Colts have little chance at the top seed. The second seed is a real possibility. Indy also wants to keep Denver out of the five seed, because they are the best team in the conference by a wide, wide margin. Let Denver take the one. Indy can play for the two (which would be terrific) or the three and hopefully get the Jets. If Indy has to play New England, you want that game at home. Pull against the Pats.
(Like there was any choice!)