Who to Root For: Week 12

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!)

Who to Root For: Week 12

The race for the #1 pick is on. The Colts hold a two game lead over the Panthers, Vikings and Rams. If any of the teams finished tied, the team with the worst strength of schedule gets the top pick. Currently those standings read like this:

Panthers 81-79 (.506)
Colts 84-76 (.525)
Rams 92-68 (.575)
Vikings 93-67 (.585)

Here’s who to root for this week:


Cardinals at RAMS
VIKINGS at Falcons
Wins by these teams obviously help Indy

BUCS at Titans
The Titans are an AFC South team, so their losses count double

Patriots at EAGLES
GIANTS at Saints 
49ERS at Ravens
Indy plays NE, NO, and BAL so losses by those three team are obviously a good thing.

BEARS at Raiders

Panthers played the Bears and Vikes play Bears twice.

Steelers at CHIEFS

Vikes play the Chiefs, but not the Steelers.


Packers at LIONS

The Rams play the Pack, but the Panthers played Detroit. Let’s go with the Lions.

Dolphins at COWBOYS

The Phins sit at three wins, but the Rams played the Cowboys.

REDSKINS at Seahawks

Seahawks wins hurt St. Louis, but at Skins win hurts the Panthers.

Who to Root for Week 12

It’s time to scoreboard watch.  Here’s who to root for this weekend:


Jaguars at Giants

Steelers at Bills

Titans at Texans

Bucs at Ravens

Most of these are simple “AFC/NFC” games, with an AFC South tilt thrown in.


Kansas City at Seattle

Miami at Oakland

Both of these come down to the same issue:  I want the Chargers out of the playoffs.  I’ll hear arguments for those who want to see them lose.

Who to Root for: Week 12

It’s nearing crunch time.  The Colts find themselves in an enviable position, to say the least.  It is very difficult to decide who to root for until you’ve decided how you would like the final AFC standings to look.  DZ and I talked it over this morning and this is what we came up with…

1.  Indianapolis

2.  San Diego

3.  New England

4.  Cincinnati

5.  Denver

6.  Pittsburgh

This seeding order would mean a couple things:  First, it would ensure that the Colts would not have to play both San Diego and New England en route to the Super Bowl.  A good thing, right?  Second, it would ensure a very difficult route for both New England and Pittsburgh.  The Pats would have to beat the Steelers at home, the Chargers on the road, and then likely the Colts on the road.  Indy, on the other hand, would likely play the winner of Denver and Cincinnati in the divisional round and then either New England or San Diego in the AFC championship.  With that in mind, let’s take a look at the important NFL games of week twelve.

Easy Calls

Cleveland at Cincinnati:  The Bengals are still a threat for the one seed.  They need to lose one more time.

Jacksonville at San Francisco:  Someone needs to put the Sparklecats out of their misery.  That team has no business making in the playoffs, and would only serve as fodder for whoever hosts them.

Arizona at Tennessee:  Same story here.  I don’t see any benefit in rooting for the Titans to stay hot.  Although it might force management to keep VY.  Hmm… 

New England at New Orleans:  The Pats in the three seed would be ideal.  Losing this game would go a long way towards this happening.

Tough Calls

Kansas City at San Diego:  The Chargers are still alive for the one seed.  I hope they lose, but they can’t lose too many more games if the above scenario is to play out. 

Pittsburgh at Baltimore:  The Steelers aren’t really an essential part of our “plan”, so I’ll root against them.  I dislike them. 

Current AFC Playoff Standings

1.  Indianapolis (10-0)

2.  Cincinnati (7-3)

3.  San Diego (7-3)

4.  New England (7-3)

5.  Denver (7-4)

6.  Jacksonville (6-4)

7.  Pittsburgh (6-4)

8.  Baltimore (5-5)

9.  Houston (5-5)

10.  Miami (5-5)