Welcome to Who to Root For for Week 15 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 all but locked into the fourth seed in the AFC. They have clinched the AFC South, but are a game and a tie break behind the Bengals and two games behind the Patriots.
What It Will Take: Getting up to the third seed will take two losses by the Pats or Bengals and three Colts wins. Or two wins by Indy and three losses to close the year from either Cincy or New England. We can hope, but realistically any hope of a higher seed died in Cincinnati last weekend.
Ideal (but realistic) Seeding:
Denver, Cincinnati, New England, Indianapolis, Kansas City, Baltimore
Baltimore would beat the Pats in round 1, sending the winner of KC/Indy to Cincinnati. Maybe the Ravens upset the Broncos and the Colts host the AFC Championship game.
EASY CALLS (Home team in bold)
Dolphins over the Patriots
Still root against New England, but be careful. A KC swoon and Indy could end up playing a tougher team in the Wild Card Round.
Chiefs over the Raiders
Kansas City is the best possible matchup for Indy. They are vastly overrated, and the Colts could upset them. Root for them to win.
Jets over the Panthers
If there is any possible way to get New York into the playoffs, I'm rooting for it.
Steelers over the Bengals
Indy can still jump Cincy, but it would take a loss by the Bengals this weekend.
Ravens over the Lions
I'm ok with the Ravens as the six seed. That could be the key to keeping the Colts out of Denver.
Broncos over the Chargers
I can't think of any good reason to ever root for Phil Rivers over Peyton Manning, and I'm not going to do it. Ok?
I'm just not.