Who to Root For: Week 13

Welcome to Who to Root For for Week 13 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 clinging to the 3rd seed in the AFC. They have a realistic chance to get a home game (top four seeds), and a bye (top two seeds). No matter what happens this weekend, the Colts will be no lower than the four seed in the AFC, and could close the week as high as two.

What It Will Take: Winning the South can be accomplished with a win over Tennessee this week and a win or a Titans loss in any other game this year. That ensures a home game in the playoffs. A bye will likely require a 12-4 finish. That will require a 5-0 close to the season.

 

EASY CALLS (home team in bold)

Texans over the Patriots

An Indy win and a Pats loss puts the Colts back in control of the two seed in the AFC.

Chargers over the Bengals

Indy needs to stay ahead of Cincinnati for the third seed.

Raiders over the Cowboys

Cardinals over the Eagles

Dolphins over the Jets

Jaguars over the Browns

49ers over the Rams

Seahawks over the Saints

All of these games are of minor import and either affect strength of victory or strength of schedule. It's unlikely any will be of real significance.

 

Tough Calls

Chiefs over the Broncos

Worst case scenario for the Colts would go like this: Chargers win the 6th, Denver 5th, Cincy 3rd, KC 2nd, NE 1st. That could potentially force Indy to play Denver and New England in back-to-back weeks. At this points, it's better for the Broncos to take the first seed and the Colts to hang in for the third.  Of course, you could argue that if Indy gets the third and KC gets the second things could really pay off for the Colts. If the Denver beats the four seed, the Colts would go to Kansas City while the Broncos and Pats had to play each other. That would be ideal.

At any rate, the Colts prime desire should be to avoid Denver and travel to Kansas City.

Who to Root For: Week 13

The Colts are two games up on the Vikings and Rams for the #1 overall pick.

Currently if all three teams finished with two losses, the strength of schedule tiebreaker looks like this:

Colts: 95-81 (.540)

Vikings: 102-74 (.580)

Rams: 103-76 (.575)

So the Colts have a healthy leg up.

Here’s who to root for:

EASY CALLS:

Broncos at Vikings

Rams at 49ers

Obviously, if the Vikes or Rams win, it’s go fly for Indy.

Chargers at Jaguars

Falcons at Texans

Titans at Bills

It’s easy to root against the AFC South.

Jets at Redskins

Rams and Vikes both play Washington

Chiefs at Bears

Lions at Saints

Indy played KC but not Chicago, same with NO and Det.

Packers at Giants

Vikes play Green Bay twice.

Panthers at Bucs

Carolina is all but out of it, but they are at 3 wins, so pull for them anyway.

TOUGH CALLS:  

Raiders at Dolphins

Vikes play the Raiders. Dolphins only have 3 wins. Let’s worry about the Vikes.

 

 

Who to Root for Week 13

The Colts playoff options are more limited than before, so let’s start out be establishing our ‘dream scenario’.

1.  Pittsburgh

2.  Jets

3. Colts

4. Chiefs

5. Patriots

6. Ravens

This would send Baltimore to Indy in round one.  We would obviously be fine with that matchup, having not lost to the Ravens in almost a decade.  Indy would travel to the Jets in the second round, and then either go to Pittsburgh or likely get the Patriots in the Luke.  Tough sledding?  Heck yes.  Eerily similar to 2006?  Um, yes.  So, using that as our template let’s look at week 13:

EASY CALLS:

Jets over Patriots

We don’t want to go to New England.  Let’s get that awful Pats pass defense inside if at all possible, huh?

Titans over Jaguars.

This would mean that the Colts could come very close to winning the South with three straight wins over the Cowboys, Titans and Jaguars.  I have to check the tiebreakers, but a win by the Titans  and three Indy wins would put the Jags, Titans, and Texans all at 7 losses and the Colts at 9 wins with two games left.  I’d take that right now in a heart beat.

Oakland at San Diego

Again, we want to hurt the Pats with Oakland wins, and we want San Diego out of the playoffs in possible, though the chances of them playing Indy before the AFC Championship game are remote.

TOUGH CALLS

Pittsburgh at Baltimore

Our dream scenario is probably the best we can hope for, but if you think the Ravens are better than the Steelers, then I suppose you want to play them later.

Broncos at Chiefs

Technically, the Chiefs are a game ahead of Indy right now, but I can’t see them winning out.  It’s rational to root for them to keep winning for now so as to keep San Diego on the outs.  Still, by rule, I’m going to pull against them for one more week until the Colts technically jump them for the 3rd spot.

Who to Root For: Week 13

The Colts have nearly locked up the one seed, so now’s the time to remind you all about our dream order for finish for the AFC:

1.  Indy
2.  San Diego
3. New England
4.  Cincinnati
5.  Denver/Jacksonville (do you care?  I don’t)
6. Pittsburgh

This would force the Pats to play Pitt, and @SD.  It would force the Chargers to play the Pats.  Obviously, you could flip the Pats and Chargers and it would be nearly as good.  It would likely give Indy a second round game with the Bengals or Broncos.  Most importantly, it means Indy likely would only have to face one of the Steelers/Pats/Chargers combo.

EASY CALLS:

Lions at Bengals
Chargers at Browns
These first two games are not going to go our way, but they would help the Colts clinch the one seed.  I don’t much care what San Diego does the rest of the year, as I assume they’ll take the two seed (which is fine with me).  It would be nice to get the Bengals behind the Pats because we certainly don’t want to have to play New England in the divisional round

Ravens at Packers

I don’t think the Ravens are that great a team, but I’d just as soon have them out of the playoffs

Oakland at Pittsburgh

If the Steelers don’t make the playoffs, I won’t cry

TOUGH CALLS:

Texans at Jaguars

This game likely won’t matter, but I’d rather the Jags lose their next two games so as to not have any real hope when Indy comes to town in a couple of weeks.

Patriots at Dolphins

It’s distasteful, but I think we have to pull for the Pats to finish 12-4.  I’d much rather them wind up in the two or three seed than in the four.  That means they have to win out.  I’ll hate myself just a little, but here’s hoping they pull it out.

Broncos at Chiefs

As a general rule, I’m rooting against all playoff contenders (Broncos, Jags, Steelers, and Ravens).  The Broncos will be equally desperate next week regardless of what happens today, so I’d rather they lose.

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