Philip Rivers, Colts

AFC playoff picture, Week 17: Colts need help

Entering Week 17 of the 2020 NFL season, the AFC playoff picture is still madness in the wild card slots, along with the AFC South.

One week left. That’s all which stands between the NFL playoffs and those of us waiting for Wild Card weekend to kick off.

Going into Week 17, we still don’t know who is winning the AFC South, along with which three teams will make up the wild card participants in the conference. Here’s how things stand in the AFC playoff picture stand going into Sunday:

1. Kansas City Chiefs (14-1)
2. Buffalo Bills (12-3)
3. Pittsburgh Steelers (12-3)
4. Tennessee Titans (10-5)
5. Miami Dolphins (10-5)
6. Baltimore Ravens (10-5)
7. Cleveland Browns (10-5)

8. Indianapolis Colts (10-5)

 

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Here’s what we know… the Chiefs are the top seed. Look for Kansas City to rest its starters against the Los Angeles Chargers at Arrowhead Stadium, and likely moving to 14-2.

The Pittsburgh Steelers and Buffalo Bills have won their respective divisions. Buffalo hasn’t announced if it will play starters, although it seems unlikely after Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin stated Mason Rudolph is his starting quarterback in Cleveland against the Browns.

So what does it all mean? Well, it’s bad news for the Colts.

As can be seen above, the Dolphins, Ravens and Browns currently occupy the final three playoff spots. If those teams win, they all make the playoffs. Miami is visiting Buffalo this weekend, and might see a listless Bills team resting for the postseason. The same is clearly true of Pittsburgh, which is Cleveland’s draw this weekend. Finally, the Ravens are playing the Cincinnati Bengals, who are riding a two-game winning streak but are also a 4-10-1 group.

 

Read: Bucs Coach Bruce Arians Says They’ll ‘Play To Win’ In Week 17

 

Indianapolis doesn’t want to read the paragraph preceding this, because it would mean the Colts must win and either see the Titans lose to the Houston Texans at NRG Stadium, or hope for a borderline miracle having Miami, Cleveland or Baltimore falling in a huge upset.

The good news for the Colts is a home game against the Jacksonville Jaguars is always a good way to finish the season. Indianapolis should hammer the Jags, who will happily be drafting Trevor Lawrence in April. Until then, Jacksonville is the easiest mark in the league, and so Indianapolis basically needs one loss from four teams.

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