Welcome to Who to Root For for Week 13 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 clinging to the 3rd seed in the AFC. They have a realistic chance to get a home game (top four seeds), and a bye (top two seeds). No matter what happens this weekend, the Colts will be no lower than the four seed in the AFC, and could close the week as high as two.
What It Will Take: Winning the South can be accomplished with a win over Tennessee this week and a win or a Titans loss in any other game this year. That ensures a home game in the playoffs. A bye will likely require a 12-4 finish. That will require a 5-0 close to the season.
EASY CALLS (home team in bold)
Texans over the Patriots
An Indy win and a Pats loss puts the Colts back in control of the two seed in the AFC.
Chargers over the Bengals
Indy needs to stay ahead of Cincinnati for the third seed.
Raiders over the Cowboys
Cardinals over the Eagles
Dolphins over the Jets
Jaguars over the Browns
49ers over the Rams
Seahawks over the Saints
All of these games are of minor import and either affect strength of victory or strength of schedule. It's unlikely any will be of real significance.
Chiefs over the Broncos
Worst case scenario for the Colts would go like this: Chargers win the 6th, Denver 5th, Cincy 3rd, KC 2nd, NE 1st. That could potentially force Indy to play Denver and New England in back-to-back weeks. At this points, it's better for the Broncos to take the first seed and the Colts to hang in for the third. Of course, you could argue that if Indy gets the third and KC gets the second things could really pay off for the Colts. If the Denver beats the four seed, the Colts would go to Kansas City while the Broncos and Pats had to play each other. That would be ideal.
At any rate, the Colts prime desire should be to avoid Denver and travel to Kansas City.