Welcome to Who to Root For for Week 16 of the NFL season.
Each week I break down the schedule in grammatically incorrect fashion. That is, of course, unless you consider avoiding awkward constructions to be the heart of proper grammar in which case this column will be near and dear to your heart. Though it likely means you aren't a big football fan, in which case this will be irrelevant to your life.
What's at Stake: Indy is still in the fourth seed in the AFC, but could move up as high as the number one seed if everything broke their way. The two seed is more attainable.
What it Will Take: To get the top seed, Indy needs two Denver losses and two Colts wins plus all the other scenarios below to work out. The problem is Denver plays Houston this week, so...not going to happen.
To get the two seed: The Colts need to win twice and have the Pats and the Bengals EACH to lose once. If the Colts win once, they need the Pats and the Bengals to lose twice.
To get the three seed: The Colts need the above scenario to take place, but only need the Pats OR the Bengals to lose once.
Other relevant teams of note: The Dolphins and Ravens can mess things up if they win their divisions. If those two teams go 2-0 and Indy goes 1-1 and the Pats lose twice, Indy stays at four and the Dolphins actually vault to the two seed.
Ideal (but realistic) Seeding:
Denver, Indianapolis, New England, Baltimore, Kansas City, Miami
The Colts would get the Ravens at home in the second week of the playoffs, and the Pats would travel to Denver.
New England could drop to the fourth seed or even out of the playoffs, but they'd have to lose to Buffalo in Week 17.
Miami would vault the Bengals if the Dolphins win twice and the Ravens win out.
EASY CALLS (Home team in bold)
Vikings over the Bengals
Any Bengals loss with two Colts wins moves Indy up a seed.
Texans over the Broncos
Two Denver losses is good for the Colts if the Colts win twice. Otherwise, it's doom as Denver comes to Indy in round 1.
Raiders over the Chargers
San Diego can still make the playoffs. Let's avoid that, shall we?
Ravens over the Patriots
An Indy win and a Pats loss moves Indy up one seed.
Dolphins over the Bills
Miami already won in Indianapolis, but in theory, they could still dump New England out of the playoffs. So for now, pull for them.