With Week 13 in the books, let's take a look at the AFC Playoff picture, where the Colts stand, and who to root for in Week 14, in our weekly look at the Colts Path to the Playoffs:
|3rd||New England Patriots||9-3|
We've been itching to make this a 3-team race, and with the Colts magical comeback and the Dolphins loss, we have! I may be jumping the gun slightly on the Jets, but their biggest "ace in the hole" is the head-to-head tie breaker over the Colts, which would likely be irrelevant even if the Jets were able to run the table and get to 9-7 AND the Colts only won 1 of their next 4 games.
See, the head-to-head tie breaker only applies if 2, and ONLY 2, teams finish with the same record, which is a scenario I just don't see playing out. If the Colts and Jets are both 9-7, both the Bengals and Steelers will have equal or better records, either eliminating the Colts and Jets from the playoffs, or creating a 3-or-more-team tie breaker. In that scenario, Conference records would come into play, not head-to-head records.
After the jump we'll look at this week's key match-ups and who Colts fans should be rooting for!
Key Games for Week 14 (Teams to root for in BOLD):
Colts vs. Titans - =)
Broncos at Raiders - I would least like to face the Broncos. As a Manning fan, let's give his arm a week off in the playoffs.
Cowboys at Bengals - The Bengals are scary, they just won't lose and go away! The Cowboys aren't good, I doubt they keep this game close, and I hate them and their media coverage with the heat of a million suns, but... HOW BOUT DEM COWBOYS? Ugh.
Jaguars vs Jets - The Jets still have a chance of ruining the Colts party, via their head-to-head tie breaker. Plus, a Jaguars victory is win-win: it would eliminate the Jets and it would hurt the Jaguars draft position! Go Chad Henne!
Chargers at Steelers - Seriously, Ravens? You couldn't beat the Chuck Batch-lead Steelers? I have a feeling the Steelers are going to be an uncomfortable thorn in the Colts' side for the rest of the year, and about the only drive you can count on the Chargers completing is to the golf course in January, but we need to ask Norv and Phil for a favor one more time. Prepare for disappointment.
Patriots vs Texans - I went back and forth on this one for 10 minutes. I struggled. The prevailing thought is that if the Texans have clinched home-field advantage in week 17, they'd rest their starters and allow the Colts an opportunity for an easier win. But you know what? If the Colts beat the Titans, and the Patriots beat the Texans, the Colts control their own fate in the division. I'm tired of putting caveats and qualifiers here. Why settle for the wildcard when you can have it all?
I'm rooting for the Texans. No questions asked. My goal is for us to make the playoffs and get some good experience there (hopefully against BAL then multiple teams thereafter in an ideal world). Pats losing would give the Broncs a good chance at getting that 2nd place seed (and consequent bye), and that's best for all involved. Texans winning gives us a better chance of at least splitting with them and hopefully locking up a 5th seed (assuming the Ravens get the 4th seed, this would be my optimal scenario).
Could you imagine the Texans getting beat by the Patriots and the Colts running the table to end up getting a first round by, lol now that would be hilarious...
Greg, Ol' Building and Loan pal, please stop saying there is any good scenario involving a Pats win. Because there most certainly is not. Zero, zelch, nada.
Pats vs. Axe murders. Sharpen those blades boys!
Pats vs. pre-breakup USSR. Hammer & Sickle, Hammer and Sickle!
Pats vs. Mongrel Hoard. I'm betting at least one member of the hoard has a family, he is just ttrying to provide for.
I think the Cowboys are good but are underachieving more than the Colts are overachieving. They can do us a huge favor and beat both the Seelers and the Bengals. I like that the Texans are playing a Monday night game, at NE, before we go to their place. Two more wins, we're in!
I love your "Pats vs. x" examples, but those seem a little too easy. How about:
• Pats vs. Stampede Blue, coached by Bob Kravitz and announced by Phil Simms
• Pats vs. Hank Baskett's kick coverage skills
• 2012 Pats vs. 2001 Pats
• Pats vs. Jim Caldwell's glazed stare
• Pats vs. the Colts injury history
• Pats vs. cutting a (nearly) health GOAT
• Pats vs. a slow death via amebic dysentery
You get the idea...
@DougEngland Mongrel hoard or Mongol Horde?
I'm not pulling for a Patriots win! I'm pulling for a Houston loss!!!!
@pierrezombie O.K. maybe I would be torn with any scenario involving "Wormtongue" Kravitz.
i will admit it is refreshing to read the Denver Post, where the writers are like kids in a candy store covering Peyton. (Unlike Wormtongue and his posse, who at their best seemed to take him for granted and at their worst seemed to want to invent ways to take him down.)
@Payton You're killing me. (And rightly so.)
@GregC Don't split hairs with me young man! (As the outcome is still the same, a gleeful Patriots nation and the team better positioned for the playoffs.)
@DougEngland I guess living through the Josh McDaniels era would make anyone more appreciative.
Too bad we can't trade Wormtongue and a 3rd round pick for Mike Klis.
@GregC Pshaw. I love you, too.
I thought of a better one:
• Pats vs. Everyone who said #18 would never play another meaningful down in the NFL, or would snap like a twig the first time he was tackled, or was way too big a risk to sign to a new contract. (p.s. Suck it, Kravitz. You too, Simmons.)