With Week 12 in the books, let's take a look at the AFC Playoff picture, where the Colts stand, and who to root for in Week 13, in our weekly look at the Colts Path to the Playoffs:
|3rd||New England Patriots||8-3|
|9th||San Diego Chargers||4-7|
The first thing you should notice is that we've thinned the field considerably. Last week our list included 12 teams, but we've dropped the Titans, Jets, and Raiders following their Week 12 losses. I honestly believe that the Dolphins and Chargers are too far out of it to matter, but I've included them for two reasons: 1) Miami is still within striking distance, and with the schedule both the Steelers and Bengals will face, along with the injury to Roethlisberger, I don't think you can totally count them out just yet and 2) San Diego plays the Bengals and Steelers the next 2 weeks. If they can win both of those games, they'll be at 6-7 and have an outside chance of being tied with one or both of those teams.
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 13 (Teams to root for in BOLD):
Colts vs. Lions - duh
Jaguars at Bills - This has nothing to do with the Bills, who are out of the playoff picture in my mind. Instead, I'm cheering for the Jaguars to win the rest of their games and get the worst draft position possible. As one of our most hated rivals - through words, more than deeds - I want to see them be as bad for as long as possible.
Texans at Titans - If you want the Titans to win, I'm OK with that - I don't think there's any way Tennessee can overcome their own bad play as well as the herd of teams in front of them to make the playoffs. This "hope" is rooted in the thought that if the Texans have secured the #1 seed come week 17, they'll rest their starters against the Colts. I'm not actually convinced that will happen - I think the Texans may want to get the "Can't win in Indianapolis" Monkey off of their back, but there's no chance of it happening if they haven't secured the #1 seed, so...
Patriots at Dolphins - Kind of the same as the Texans - you don't HAVE to cheer for the Patriots, the Dolphins are 2 games back, plus the Colts have the head-to-head tie breaker. That said, I would like for teams to be eliminated as soon as possible, and one more loss should do that for Miami.
Broncos vs Buccaneers - I DON'T WANT TO FACE PEYTON MANNING IN THE PLAYOFFS.
Chargers vs Bengals - A Bengals win totally eliminates the Chargers, but let's be honest, the odds of the chargers going 5-0 and the teams in front of them tanking are slim, so let's root for Norval Redenbacher and Philly to help us out the next two weeks.
Ravens vs Steelers - I'm going to start rooting for the Ravens to start losing very soon - they are the only playoff match-up I feel the Colts have a real chance of winning - but not this week. If the Steelers lose, falling to 6-6, it would obviously provide some breathing room for the Colts, who don't have a cake walk of a schedule down the stretch.
Posted this elsewhere but the Jets are 4-7 and beat us earlier this year. Their remaining schedule does not include a single team with a winning record and their opponents have a combined 18-37 record. Yes, they have lost seven games but every single team they’ve lost to is currently in the playoff hunt at 5-6 or better (Miami is the only team they’ve lost to that doesn’t have a winning record). In the two games they’ve played against what I would consider “bad teams” (Buffalo and St. Louis) they’ve looked dominate. Is it really ridiculous to think they could get hot, roll off five wins in a row, and steal a wild card? Maybe I’m just being pessimistic, I clearly hope they lose next week and make all of this a moot point.
I absolutely want the Colts to face the Broncos during the playoffs: that'd be the first playoff game involving the Colts in years where I'd be happy no matter who wins.
Here's the scenario I want:
Patriots lose one of their remaining games (probably one of the Houston-San Fran stretch), while the Broncos win out, giving them the bye.
The Ravens smoke-and-mirror their way to 12-4, and get the #3 seed. Steelers get Big Ben back, and run the table after losing to Baltimore, going 10-6 and getting the #5 seed. The Colts go 9-7, and still make the playoffs over a 9-7 Cincinnati team on Conference Record (right now, Bengals have 5 AFC losses, to the Colts 2), and draw Baltimore, while Pittsburgh, with a healthy Ben, go to Foxboro.
That said, this probably won't happen because I want it to happen too much.
My dream scenario is any way the Colts can draw Baltimore, avoiding a 48-20 beatdown in New England, and a game against Peyton, which I'm not mentally ready for until next season when it is forced upon us all.
@dmstorm22 Okay. Make it so.
@dmstorm22 Man, that is an awesome job. I, too, could get on board with that scenario.
@dmstorm22 I can get on board with this scenario.
@dmstorm22 see, I want to face Peyton. I want him to kick our butts just so I can have some closure.
@mattshedd I get what you are saying. This year, I would probably root for the Broncos as well. Not because I would want closure, but because I think the Broncos if they stay healthy, have a real chance to win the Super Bowl and the Colts don't.
Now next year, all bets would be off.
@mattshedd I would rather get Baltimore. Plus, I want the Broncos to get a bye. I don't care if the Colts play the Broncos in the divisional round, because, (hey!) the Colts would have won a playoff game.
Based on your logic, shouldn't we root for the Patriots and Ravens to lose as many games as possible to help Houston secure no.1 seed as as soon as possible?
@VincentLevesque No, I even said that I wasn't really a fan of "that logic", and the Steelers losing is far more important than the Texans getting the #1 seed a week sooner.
I know this is a Colts blog, and if we are true Colts fans we would not read or care about articles like this one... but Sam Farmer wrote a tremendous article about P-Money.
Sorry, I am not clever enough to link to it, but Peter King did in this week's Monday Morning QB.
@DougEngland Manning's been getting a lot of good pub this year, no one hates him!!! (yet) good to see it, hope it continues for him
@GregC I was just poking fun at those who would say you are not a true Colts fan if you still are rooting for Peyton. (I know not many reside here, as most people who habituate this site have, you know, good sense.)
The Farmer piece really is excellent, and I think many of your readers would enjoy it, if you could link to it. It delves primarily into what Peyton went through to be able to come back and how effected he was by the Colts releasing him. (Even though, Ashley and everyone kept telling him it was coming.)
"San Diego plays the Bengels and the Chargers the next two weeks". I'm not so sure about the Bengels, but I'm flying to Vegas to bet the house on San Diego beating the Chargers. (Don't care what the line is.)
I would not survive a Broncos/Colts playoff game. This can not happen.
In case anyone has forgotten, (cue the Taylor Swift music) "I will never, ever, root for the Patriots."
@DougEngland I came in to comment on this, haha. Chargers have been amazing at beating themselves for the past couple year. I'd go all in, too.
@DougEngland I can't believe you quoted Taylor Swift. I think I'd rather see the Pats win the SB than hear that song. It's close that's for certain. And I had so much respect for you.....
@Music Man Well, my pop music sensibilities not withstanding, I merely was repeating my mantra from last week when Greg first suggested it was in the Colts best interest to root for a Pats win against the Jets.
Very hurt that you don't have all my posts memorized.
@Music Man @DougEngland As a lifelong Colts fan growing up in Jets territory starting with their SB III win over the Colts and suffering through know-nothing schoolmates shouting Jets! Jets! Jets! every day... crap, I lost track of where I was, but I have loathed the Jets deep down in my bones for 40+ years. My dislike for the Pats is just a decade old, and linked more to their arrogant fanbase and the media drooling over them more than their actual excellence which has been pretty... excellent ove that time. Once their band-wagon-jumpers leave when they have a few mediocre years, they'll be tolerable once more.
Though I will always enjoy watching either team crap the bed. Brady's 4 INT performance on a Monday night vs Miami about 8 years ago is still a highlight for me. He actually threw a 4th quarter pick to seal the loss while seated on his a$$--how stupid can you get?
@DougEngland sorry. My fandom is lacking. (Christmas is very busy for music teachers.). I will redouble my efforts. Although I will root for ANYONE to beat the Jets. At least I respect how good the Pats have been for this long. The Jets just suck.