Colts hold 6th seed in AFC after wild NFL weekend, bye week

Indianapolis Colts

Indianapolis Colts cornerback Kenny Moore II (23) celebrates after a play with his team during an NFL football game against the Houston Texans, Sunday, Dec. 5, 2021, in Houston. (AP Photo/Tyler Kaufman)

INDIANAPOLIS – On their quietest weekend of the season, the Indianapolis Colts made noise.

While enjoying their bye, they moved up four slots in the AFC playoff picture. Overtime losses by Cincinnati to San Francisco and Buffalo at Tampa Bay Sunday afternoon boosted the Colts from 10th and out of the postseason to 6th and holding one of the three wild-card spots.

For now, of course.

As Sunday reinforced, everything is in flux as the Colts and NFL prepare for what promises to be a hectic close to the regular season.

They return to action Saturday night against the 9-4 New England Patriots, the AFC’s top seed, at Lucas Oil Stadium. Then, a Christmas evening visit to the 10-2 Arizona Cardinals, the NFC’s top seed.

According to FiveThirtyEight.com, the Colts have a 64% chance of making the playoffs. If they defeat the Patriots, the odds jump to 86%.

Indy not only finds itself in the thick of the playoff picture but in good position. It’s one of five teams at 7-6, and holds the pertinent tiebreaker (better record against conference opponents).

Under the current scenario, the No. 6 Colts would travel to No. 3 Kansas City for a first-round playoff game.

Sizing up the AFC field

  1. New England (9-4): at Colts (7-6), vs. Buffalo (7-6), vs. Jacksonville (2-11), at Miami (6-7).
  2. Tennessee (9-4): at Pittsburgh (6-6-1), vs. San Francisco (7-6), vs. Miami (6-7), at Houston (2-11).
  3. Kansas City (9-4): at Los Angeles Chargers (8-5), vs. Pittsburgh (6-6-1), at Cincinnati (7-6), at Denver (7-6).
  4. Baltimore Ravens (8-5): vs. Green Bay (10-3), at Cincinnati (7-6), vs. Las Vegas (6-7), vs. Pittsburgh (6-6-1).
  5. Los Angeles Chargers (8-5): vs. New York Giants (4-9), vs. Kansas City (9-4), at Houston (2-11), vs. Denver (7-6), at Las Vegas (6-7).
  6. Colts (7-6): New England (9-4), at Arizona (10-2), vs. Las Vegas (6-7), at Jacksonville (2-11).
  7. Buffalo (7-6): vs. Carolina (5-8), at New England (9-4), vs. Atlanta (6-7), vs. New York Jets (3-10).
  8. Cleveland (7-6): vs. Las Vegas (6-7), at Green Bay (10-3), at Pittsburgh (6-6-1), vs. Cincinnati (7-6).
  9. Cincinnati (7-6): at Denver (7-6), vs. Baltimore (8-5), vs. Kansas City (9-4), at Cleveland (7-6).
  10. Denver (7-6): vs. Cincinnati (7-6), at Las Vegas (6-7), at Los Angeles Chargers (8-5), vs. Kansas City (9-4).
  11. Pittsburgh (6-6-1): vs. Tennessee (9-4), at Kansas City (9-4), vs. Cleveland (7-6), at Baltimore (8-5).
  12. Las Vegas (6-7): at Cleveland (7-6), vs. Denver (7-6), at Colts (7-6), vs. Los Angeles Chargers (8-5).
  13. Miami (6-7): vs. New York Jets (3-10), at New Orleans (6-7), at Tennessee (9-4), vs. New England (9-4).

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