It's been thrown around all season, but in Tuesday Morning Quarterback this week, Gregg Easterbrook goes through every 'top team' in the league - and their 'authentic wins'. Specifically, the following:
How do others compare? Undefeated Kansas City and stats-a-palooza Denver each have only one victory over a team with a winning record, in both cases shaky 5-4 Dallas. Cincinnati has a quality win over New England, but also three losses; Chicago has a quality win over Cincinnati, but also three losses; Green Bay is 1-3 against other winning teams; Detroit 2-2 against other winning teams.
To be honest, the Colts appear to have one of the hardest schedules in football at this point - by week 16, they will have played the Chiefs, Bengals, and Broncos - all seemingly playoff-bound - and the Seahawks and 49ers, also playoff bound. As far as the AFC is concerned? In head-to-head matchups, if the Colts go 3-0 in those games, the chances that they miss the bye are about nil.
The chances they end up anywhere below a three seed is about nil.
Actually, look at Cincy - the team probably set to finish fourth. The Colts are three divisional home wins away from nine wins; a win in Cincy would put them at ten. The Bengals, perfect at home, would have to take a 2-3 away record into San Diego and Baltimore, lose only one of those games, and sweep the rest of their home games ... just to get to 11 wins.
My point is, the only game that truly matters now - besides their home/away against the Titans - will be the game in Cincy. Past that, sky's the limit.