With Week 11 in the books, let's take a look at the AFC playoff picture:
|3rd||New England Patriots||7-3|
|8th||San Diego Chargers||4-6|
|10th||New York Jets||4-6|
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 12 (Teams to root for in BOLD):
Colts vs. Bills (duh)
Patriots at Jets - If you hate rooting for the Patriots, I understand, but the Jets are only 2 games back AND they have the head-to-head tie breaker over the Colts. A Patriots win would give the Colts some room to breathe.
Raiders at Bengals - The Bengals are the scariest of the chase teams in my mind, they are getting better, their schedule isn't that hard, and they're only a game back.
Browns vs Steelers - The Steelers will be without both Byron Leftwich and Ben Roethlisberger, a win by the Browns would be huge for the Colts playoff chances.
Seahawks at Dolphins - Miami is fading fast and the Colts hold the Head-to-Head tie breaker against them, but still, you'd like to start thinning out the field as quickly as possible.
Jaguars vs Titans - I know, it stinks to root for teams you hate, but if the Titans were to lose to the Jaguars and fall to 4-7, it would all but eliminate them from post-season contention.
Ravens at Chargers - Same premise as SEA/MIA. Also, at this point you want to start seeing BALT, DEN, and NE widen their leads, beat their divisional opponents, and reduce the chances for a 2nd team (or 3rd) playoff team from their division.
Ravens and Chargers is a tough one to choose, and I think it goes with who you want to win when the Texans play too.
If you want the Texans to lose, still holding hope for the division, you should be for the Ravens to narrow down teams trying for a wildcard spot.
If you want the Texans to win in hopes they sit in week 17, you want the Chargers to beat the Ravens, giving the Texans more of a cushion, since gaining a gift game on everyone would be worth seeing the Chargers win this week.
Every time I see Philip Rivers throw, I think of this:
Your logic is spot on.
However, (sung to Taylor Swift song melody) "I will never, ever, ever, root for the Patriots".
Your Ravens at Chargers summary implies that we need reasons to root against the Chargers. Pretty sure that's not a problem for most Colts fans.
@Cassieper I specifically didn't use that as the article title so that there was no confusion about the author :)
@Mattrellen I've sort of given up hope on the division, if it happens, great, but I'm approaching this from the perspective of the Colts easiest path to the playoffs.
true, but wanted to explain it from a standings standpoint :) Also, some people might find it icky rooting for Baltimore.
@GregC @Mattrellen Yeah, that is what he is thinking as well, basically if the Ravens lose there is a better chance of the Texans winning home field advantage before the last game of the season allowing them to sit their players in the final game against the colts giving us a easier chance if we really need to win our last regular season game.
And with the chargers as one of the teams that aren't as dangerous which route do you go?
Personally I just root for the ones that are trailing to always lose, if that goes right then we won't have to worry about the last game of the season.
@paulcareyjr @Mattrellen Okay, sorry for misunderstanding, then, let me clarify: I, too, just root for the chasing teams to lose. I'm not willing to count on the Texans resting their starters - history suggests that they will, but I also think they'll want to get rid of that "Houston has never won in Indianapolis" meme at some point - and the Colts would still have to go out and beat the Texans backups.
In general, though, I think the point that it's moot is likely accurate: SD doesn't have the feel of one of those late-run teams (who, btw, were sometimes making the POs at 8-8 because of a weak division, not as wild card teams), and they still have to play Cincy, Pitts, Carolina, and the Jets after Baltimore. They likely aren't a factor (though I want them to beat the Bengals, so maybe losing to Baltimore needs to be part of a combo platter?)
Cincy and Pittsburgh are the two biggest concerns, imo, followed by the Jets/Bills, because of head-to-head tie breaker potential.