Welcome to Who to Root For for Week 12 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: The Colts are currently holding the second seed in the AFC. They have a realistic chance to get a home game (top four seeds), a bye (top two seeds) and home field throughout the AFC playoffs (first seed). No matter what happens this weekend, the Colts will be no lower than the three seed in the AFC.
What It Will Take: Winning the South can be accomplished with wins each of the next two weeks. That ensures a home game in the playoffs. A bye will likely require a 12-4 finish. To get home field throughout, Indy would likely need at least 13 wins. That means a 6-0 finish.
EASY CALLS (Home team in bold)
Chargers over the Chiefs
KC likely won't win the West, but if they do, Indy will be in a seeding war.
Dolphins over the Panthers
Rams over the Bears
49ers over the Redskins
These are all minor games that help Indy's strength of victory and strength of schedule numbers for potential tiebreakers.
Raiders over the Titans
Indy is a mortal lock for the South crown, but this would but the division on ice.
Jets over the Ravens
Browns over the Steelers
Who would you rather face in the playoffs? Yeah, me too. Root for the Jets and Browns. I'd just as soon get rid of the ring bearers in this little fellowship of suck.
Texans over the Jaguars
Maybe Kubiak will save his job. That would rule.
Broncos over the Patriots
Look, you are going to root for Peyton anyway, but here's why it's best for Indy. The Colts have little chance at the top seed. The second seed is a real possibility. Indy also wants to keep Denver out of the five seed, because they are the best team in the conference by a wide, wide margin. Let Denver take the one. Indy can play for the two (which would be terrific) or the three and hopefully get the Jets. If Indy has to play New England, you want that game at home. Pull against the Pats.
(Like there was any choice!)
Oh gosh, it's going to happen isn't it? It's unavoidable, like Wormtongue Kravitz taking a haughty attitude with his writing tone.
The Colts are going to play the Broncos in the playoffs... But I guess there are worse things, like they could be turning over the keys to the "Star Wars" franchise to JJ Abrams... wait, what?
Unless I'm a bit confused, wouldn't it be better to root for the Titans to win? We get the SOV/SOS boost doubly (assuming we can pull off the win at home). If we can't close out this division with a 3 game lead at this point in the season with the nearest team being one missing its starting QB, there's probably a bigger problem than just potentially missing the playoffs. Plus, I'd rather close out the division with a win and keep the pressure on us to keep playing well.
"I'd just as soon get rid of the ring bearers in this little fellowship of suck." Brilliant. Love it.
"Maybe Kubiak will save his job. That would rule." Nate, didn't you say this many, many times about JDR in Jax? You know, it's still very funny.
Just batting ideas around here about the playoffs: I don't think the Colts are a Lombardi-worthy team, and because I value justice even more than the Colts... okay, I won't go there. If we want to go to the SB, we should avoid games in NE and DEN. I think KC is more beatable in KC than the other two teams at home. That means I'd prefer KC to have the #1, Den #5, and NE #3 or #4 (so we can host them) but #3 is more likely due to a manageable closing slate. I'd hate the Colts to give Manning what may be his last playoff loss, but if it happens, it'll be at home because Den beat KC in KC.
Ergo, I'd root for Den to LOSE... AND NE to LOSE. Okay, okay, you say, Bob, that's impossible. Well, yeah, this week it is. Okay, DEN wins this week, but loses next week in KC.
My ideal seeding tree looks like this: KC, IND, CIN, NE, DEN, NYJ. Den beats NE in the Foxboro rematch, CIN beats NYJ. Next round, CIN travels to Indy for a road rematch while DEN beats KC in KC. AFCCG is DEN at IND.
That's when pragmatist Bob kicks in--it may be PM's last shot and the 2013 Colts are too injured and flawed unless 12 and 98 really play out of their minds, so I'd be okay with DEN winning. I'd be kind of okay with IND winning (and excited as hell, but worried that 18 may never reach those heights again).
And in the NFC... who cares?
I donno. I'm going to have a hard time cheering against the Panthers. That win over the Patriots was priceless. Watching Brady - Mr Tuck-Rule - yelling at refs and accusing them of steeling the game was intensely satisfying. It almost makes you believe in karma.
Cam's judicious rushing/scrambling actually reminded me of Luck as well. The Panthers also seem to field the power running game the Colts want to have (although it wasn't great that night). I'm pulling for the Panthers to shake things up a little in the NFC and hopefully meet the Colts in February.
@7IHd SoV is such a minor thing, I'd rather them lose. But I get your point.
I just think, what if Luck got hurt...
@Bobman1 I agree with your ideal seeding, but I consider it highly unlikely. I think Indy is more likely to get the four than KC the one, so I'm rooting for Denver to get the one, because I don't want any piece of them in round one.
@hankster HA! I thought the same thing watching Cam scramble. "Hey, I've seen Luck do this same thing on many a third down."
On top of SoV, it's always better for your division foes to just miss the playoffs every year for standing mediocrity and poorer draft picks. I see your point for clinching the division, but just didn't think it should be in "easy calls."
Both have two AFC losses. Right now, the Colts have a loss to a common opponent (Miami), while Indianapolis can even that out with either a win over Cincinnati or a New England loss to Denver. If one of those two happen and they finish with the same record, the tiebreaker will be SoV.
I believe the Colts will have an advantage there, though, with wins over Denver, Seattle helping them greatly.