It's been thrown around all season, but in Tuesday Morning Quarterback this week, Gregg Easterbrook goes through every 'top team' in the league – and their 'authentic wins'. Specifically, the following:
How do others compare? Undefeated Kansas City and stats-a-palooza Denver each have only one victory over a team with a winning record, in both cases shaky 5-4 Dallas. Cincinnati has a quality win over New England, but also three losses; Chicago has a quality win over Cincinnati, but also three losses; Green Bay is 1-3 against other winning teams; Detroit 2-2 against other winning teams.
To be honest, the Colts appear to have one of the hardest schedules in football at this point – by week 16, they will have played the Chiefs, Bengals, and Broncos – all seemingly playoff-bound – and the Seahawks and 49ers, also playoff bound. As far as the AFC is concerned? In head-to-head matchups, if the Colts go 3-0 in those games, the chances that they miss the bye are about nil.
The chances they end up anywhere below a three seed is about nil.
Actually, look at Cincy – the team probably set to finish fourth. The Colts are three divisional home wins away from nine wins; a win in Cincy would put them at ten. The Bengals, perfect at home, would have to take a 2-3 away record into San Diego and Baltimore, lose only one of those games, and sweep the rest of their home games … just to get to 11 wins.
My point is, the only game that truly matters now – besides their home/away against the Titans – will be the game in Cincy. Past that, sky's the limit.