Indianapolis Colts Still Looking Good to Make the Playoffs?

December 28, 2020

The Indianapolis Colts have looked like a playoff-bound team for most of the season. There have even been times where the Colts were favored to win the AFC South.

But when they had a chance to take the lead in the division with a win over the Pittsburgh Steelers Sunday, they blew it.

Everything looked good in the first half, but then Ben Roethlisberger woke the Steelers offense up in the second. The Colts do have one of the better defenses in the league. But they could not slow Big Ben down as he mounted an incredible comeback to beat Indianapolis, 28-24.

At the time, the impact of the loss was not crystal clear. The Tennessee Titans were not scheduled to play until Sunday night against a good Green Bay Packers team.

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As fans watched the Packers dominate the Titans, most were probably thinking the Colts blew a chance to take control of the division.

But with how everything played out Sunday, the Colts did more than lose a chance to take control of the AFC South. They lost their hold on a playoff spot altogether.

With a record of 10-5, the Colts sit in the No.8 seed behind the Cleveland Browns (7-seed), Baltimore Ravens (6-seed), Miami Dolphins (5-seed), and the Titans (4-seed). However, all four teams have records identical to the Colts’ 10-5 mark.

What does that mean for the playoff picture and the Indianapolis Colts? It means Week 17 will be important, and the Colts will need some help to get into the playoffs.

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How the Indianapolis Colts Make/Miss the Playoffs

Despite being on the outside looking in, the oddsmakers at FanDuel seem to think the Colts will make the postseason. Their odds to make it in are -270, and to miss, they are +205.

That translates into a 72.97 percent chance they make it and a 32.79 percent chance they do not.

Why are the odds they make it in so high? It could be because there is more than one route for them to make the playoffs. However, while there are multiple scenarios where they make the postseason, they could easily not work out in the Colts’ favor.

They can still win the division, of course. The odds are not good for the Colts to do so, though (+320 relative to -420 for the Titans).

For the Colts to win the division, they have to beat the Jacksonville Jaguars (they are favored by 14). They also have to hope the Houston Texans can upset Tennessee (who is favored by 7.5).

But more than likely, both teams are going to win their respective games. That means the Colts will have to count on the teams currently in a position to win a wildcard spot to lose their regular-season finale.

That team could be the Cleveland Browns. They will face a Pittsburgh Steelers team that may have woken back up after their big comeback last week.

If they have, the Browns (with their receivers and two linemen back) could be in trouble (despite being favored by 9.5).

If the Browns pull out the win, it is unlikely the Indianapolis Colts get any help from the Baltimore Ravens. The Ravens are favored by 11.5-points over the Cincinnati Bengals (and are not going to lose).

However, they could get it from the Miami Dolphins.

Buffalo is currently a 1.5-point favorite (odds via DraftKings). With how well the Bills offense has been playing, it is a little surprising the spread isn’t bigger. But there is some doubt as to whether Buffalo is going to play their starters.

Should they lose and the Steelers win, the Bills will slip back down to the 3-seed. While home-field advantage does not mean as much this year, if they are the 2-seed, they will not have to face the Kansas City Chiefs until the AFC Championship.

But is that worth risking injury to Josh Allen or Stefon Diggs? Probably not.

So – How Should You Bet?

Betting Plays:  Look for Buffalo to rest guys, so do not count on them beating Miami. With Mason Rudolph starting for the Steelers, it is hard to see the Browns losing that game.
Take the Indianapolis Colts to miss the playoffs.

Tennessee will lock up the AFC South with a big win over the Houston Texans. That will mean the Indianapolis Colts will need to count on either Cleveland, Miami, or Baltimore losing.

While possible, it would be shocking if the Ravens lost to the Bengals.

There is a chance the Browns lose to the Steelers, though. But with Mason Rudolph starting for the Steelers, things are looking good for Cleveland.

Should the Browns win, then there is still a chance the Dolphins lose to the Bills. But that will depend on whether the Bills play their starters. So, theoretically, things could easily go the way the Colts want. But they might not.

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