After week 16 and heading into the final week of the season, the Houston Texans are in pole position to finish first in the AFC South and leave the Indianapolis Colts behind. Things can still change on the final day of the season, but it’s going to take a lot more than a simple ‘they lose, we win’ scenario for the Colts to be in the postseason.
The Colts, at 7-8, need to win their final game of the season against the Tennessee Titans, which doesn’t sound too difficult, even with all the quarterback injuries the Colts are having. They also need the Texans, 8-7, to lose against the Jacksonville Jaguars, who might not be making the playoffs, but are a much better team than Tennessee. Only when that first tiebreaker (8-8) occurs, can we start calculating down the list of tiebreakers and see what the Colts need to happen.
The first four tiebreakers are head to head victory (one win each), record in division games (will be 4-2 assuming the above happens), record against common opponents (will be the same) and conference games record (will be 6-6 assuming the above happens). So four way tie. What’s next? The ever so complicated and fluid strength of victory, which will rely on the difference between the wins Houston has over the Cincinnati Bengals, New York Jets and New Orleans Saints, in contrast to the Colts beating the Denver Broncos, Atlanta Falcons and Miami Dolphins. The rest of their wins, including against each other, are against the same teams.
Heading into Monday Night Football (Broncos vs Bengals), the Texans teams have 27 wins, the Colts are 23. The only way for the Colts to come out on top in this is for the following to happen: Broncos beat Bengals on MNF, Broncos beat the San Diego Chargers next week and the Miami Dolphins beat the New England Patriots, while the Bengals also lose to the Ravens, Jets lose to the Bills and the Saints lose to the Falcons. That’s come to about 1-in-3300 kind of odds for the Colts to cross their fingers for. Sounds possible, right?