While I'm thrilled the Colts have this bye week to get back to close to full strength, I does make for a bland Sunday of football. If you are so inclined to watch the NFL tomorrow, here's a quick look at what will help the Horse.
Houston @ Cincinnati
Personally, I have to go with the Texans here. Indy already has three games in hand over Houston, and while a loss would only create more distance between the Colts and the second best team in the division, at this point, I'm taking the division title for granted. Let's lock in on the top two seeds by dropping the serious AFC contenders. The Bengals have to be considered a serious contender, and while I find the odds of them finishing with a better record than the Colts remote, it's mathematically possible. So in order to keep the tiebreakers from getting weird, let's pull for the Texans.
Again, NFC/AFC games are easy calls. Grab some horns, glue them to your head, and you are covered for both teams. If the Rams beat Jacksonville, Del Rio doesn't last the week.
Titans @ New England
You don't need me to tell you what to do here. Hate away. It's surprising that this game suddenly feels so unimportant.
Cleveland @ Pittsburgh
Woof, woof, as they say, woof.
Buffalo @ NY Jets
Again, not that easy a call. Do we really want the Pats in the playoffs? I know the Jets are 'contenders' but with two games in hand on them, I'm inclined to pull for them just to keep New England in second place.
Denver @ San Diego (Monday Night)
Numerically, it makes sense to root for the Chargers, but my Colts' fan genetic coding screams that Denver we can handle, and San Diego will be tough. I usually love the math, but I'm bucking the trend. I want the Chargers dead in the warm, soft, San Diego ground. The last time Denver was all great with a super defense, it took Peyton Manning 4 quarters to expose them as utter frauds. I'm sensing that's about to happen again this year. No way I want to see San Diego in the mix.
Demond Sanders: I like the Texans too. They are a long shot for a wild card, and Cincy needs to drop a game. The Bengals have a tough closing schedule, but they seem focused. I'd rank them as the biggest threat for home field advantage. But it is still early.
I see a minimum of four losses for Denver left on the schedule and possibly five or six. They have a tough final ten games. San Diego has an easier slate with games left against the Chiefs (twice), Browns, Titan, Redskins, and Raiders. This is a huge game for both teams. The Chargers will be in wildcard mode if the lose. I was initially pulling for San Diego, but after looking at the schedules... I'll agree with your reasoning on rooting for Denver. I won't be sorry either way, obviously.
The Jets are going to lose their share of boneheaded games thanks to Mark Sanchez. Like you say, we want them to stay in front of the Pats. Their next 8 games look like this: Buffalo, @Oakland, Miami, Jacksonville, @New England, Carolina, @Buffalo, @Tampa Bay. That's a minimum of five wins, and possibly more. Problem is New England has an equally easy slate of games. I think the Pats are headed for the playoffs and probably the divisional title. So I'll go with your reasoning.