The Indianapolis Colts are 7-8 and still mathematically alive in the postseason picture. But mathematically alive doesn’t mean much when a team is facing the kind of improbable hurdles currently ahead of the Colts and their mostly lifeless playoff hopes.
Most Week 17 playoff scenarios require one or two things to happen. Win this game, or have this team lose this game, and you’re in.
It’s not quite that simple for the Colts. In fact, you won’t find many clinching scenarios are complicated as the one in front of Indianapolis.
As highlighted by Will Brinson of CBS Sports, the Colts need 10 very specific results to happen to clinch the AFC South title over the Houston Texans.
Here’s the run down: The Bengals must lose to the Broncos and Steelers, the Broncos must beat the Bengals and Chargers, the Colts must beat the Titans, the Texans must lose to the Jaguars, the Jets must lose to the Bills, the Saints must lose to the Falcons, the Chiefs must lose to the Raiders, and the Dolphins must beat the Patriots.
Essentially, the Colts need to get into a tiebreaker situation with the Texans, and then win the division based on strength of victory. Indianapolis and Houston would have identical records in terms of the head-to-head, division, common opponents and conference tiebreakers if both teams finish 8-8.
The Colts probably shouldn’t get their hopes up. In fact, the playoff dream could be over by the end of Monday night if Cincinnati beats Denver to end Week 16.
According to ESPN’s Football Power Index, the Colts have a 0.03 percent chance of making the postseason. That’s 1-in-3,326 odds. The NFL is still the theatre of the unlikely, but this 10-game run is probably asking far too much.