The Indianapolis Colts were the only division leading playoff team to win on Sunday, and with that they are still a dark horse candidate to receive a first round bye come playoff time. While the Cincinnati Bengals, New England Patriots, and Denver Broncos all lost key division games, the Colts eased to victory over the woeful Houston Texans squad. It is a long shot, but the Colts have the chance to climb all the way to the No. 1 overall seed in the AFC.
Granted the Colts do not have the easiest path in the league as they head to west this coming weekend to take on the Kansas City Chiefs, who have finally found some offense to go along with one of the league’s toughest defenses. Since the Colts’ bye week they have only beaten division foes in the Texans and the Tennessee Titans while losing to the St. Louis Rams, Arizona Cardinals, and the Bengals. They were the first team this season to clinch a playoff bid but have been far from looking like a contender with the lack of the running game and poor defensive plays at times.
If the Colts can play like they have against Super Bowl contender teams like the Seattle Seahawks, San Francisco 49ers, and the Broncos then Sunday might be one of those games where Andrew Luck leads this team to another well rounded win. But if the defense cannot stop Jamaal Charles and the run game then expect it to be a long day. They limited the Texans last Sunday to only 107 yards on the ground, well below their 130 yards average.
The Broncos have the easiest road to the No. 1 seed with games against the Oakland Raiders and the Texans. Peyton Manning should lead his team to victories against two of the league’s worst defenses and secure the No. 1 seed, but nothing is guaranteed in the NFL.
The Patriots and Bengals, meanwhile, have one game left against the Baltimore Ravens who have currently won four in a row and will be a tough win for either team. Tom Brady will take on the Ravens in Baltimore this Sunday followed by a season finale against the Buffalo Bills in Foxboro. While the Bengals will take on the Minnesota Vikings and finish with the Ravens, both games at home for them.
The Colts still sit in the No. 4 seed in the AFC, and if everything goes as planned they should end up there with the Patriots and Broncos securing the first round byes. Yet this is the NFL and anything can happen, so if the Bengals, Patriots and Broncos all lose out the Colts will grab the No. 1 seed. Hold on Colts fans because it’s shaping up to be the an exiting final two weeks this year.