The Indianapolis Colts entered their bye week with a two-game winning streak and a lot of momentum. Their body of work to this point was enough to see them move up a spot in NFL.com's Week 12 Power Rankings despite not playing.
As other teams fell off, the Colts moved up from No. 17 to No. 16, and Eric Edholm ponders a playoff run for Indianapolis.
"All of a sudden, if you look closely, the Colts making the playoffs isn't some pipe dream," wrote Edholm on NFL.com. "At 5-5, they have work to do, but they're currently the second AFC team out of the playoffs, behind only Buffalo on the bubble.
"Indianapolis comes out of the bye fresh to host the Bucs, who have lost five of six, and then hits the road for two games that suddenly don't look so daunting: at Tennessee and Cincinnati. Will Levis has come back to earth after his strong debut, with the Titans losing three straight, and Joe Burrow's season-ending injury sure makes the trip to Cincy easier.
"I predict Jonathan Taylor takes this team and carries it on his back, with Zack Moss as his brilliant understudy. If those two backs dominate, minimizing the Gardner Minshew factor a bit, the Colts could ride right into the postseason."
While Edholm falls short of predicting the Colts make the playoffs, the possibility is certainly there as he points out. Of the teams ahead of the Colts in the standings, the Browns and Steelers look particularly vulnerable.
However, the Colts have to look over their shoulders as well. The Denver Broncos are also 5-5 and are the hottest team in the NFL with a four-game winning streak.
The Ravens, Chiefs, Jaguars, and Dolphins are likely locks for the playoffs. After those four teams, the other-three spots are up for grabs.
The Indianapolis Colts have played their way into contention for the playoffs. Should the Colts claim one of the AFC's seven playoff spots, head coach Shane Steichen will be short-listed for AFC Coach of the Year honors.