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Indianapolis Colts Playoff Scenarios: Victory against the Jaguars is essential

What are the playoff scenarios for the Indianapolis Colts as they head into Week 18 knowing that a win will put them in the postseason?

The Indianapolis Colts headed into Week 18 with their playoff lives in their hands despite last week’s loss. That loss meant the Colts had a wide range of playoff scenarios this week. Let’s examine how the Colts could have ended up in each of three Wild Card seeds, and we’ll determine what would need to go against them to be pushed out of the NFL playoff picture altogether.

Update: After the Indianapolis Colts lost 26-11 to the Jacksonville Jaguars, check out what that means for the Pittsburgh Steelers and Baltimore Ravens as well as why a tie between the Los Angeles Chargers and Las Vegas Raiders could see both teams make the playoffs.

Indianapolis Colts playoff scenarios in Week 18

While seeding could be important for the Colts, the first key for Indy is simply to beat the Jaguars and clinch a playoff spot. If they were to lose to the Jaguars, they would be relying on other results.

Here are the three scenarios that would clinch a playoff spot for the Colts:

  • Colts win or tie
  • Chargers lose, and a tie between the Ravens and Steelers
  • Chargers lose, Steelers lose, and Dolphins win

However, if they do win, there is still a range of outcomes in terms of seeding. None of that is within their control beyond clinching a playoff spot. Let’s take a look at the different scenarios for the Colts this week.

Scenarios for the Colts to end up as the No. 5 seed

Here are the scenarios that would lead to the Colts winding up as the fifth seed in the AFC:

  • Colts win, Patriots lose, and Raiders lose or tie
  • Colts win, Bills lose, and Raiders lose or tie

Scenarios for Indianapolis to finish as the No. 6 seed

Here are the scenarios that would lead to the Colts winding up as the sixth seed in the AFC:

  • Colts win, Patriots win or tie, Bills win or tie, and Raiders lose or tie
  • Colts win, Patriots lose, and Raiders win
  • Colts win, Bills lose, and Raiders win
  • Colts tie and Raiders tie

Scenarios for Indianapolis to wrap up the No. 7 seed

Here are the scenarios that would lead to the Colts winding up as the seventh seed in the AFC:

  • Colts win, Patriots win or tie, Bills win or tie, Raiders win
  • Colts tie and Raiders win
  • Colts tie and Chargers win
  • Colts lose, Steelers tie, and Raiders win
  • Colts lose, Steelers lose, Raiders win, and Dolphins win

What are the scenarios for the Colts to miss the AFC playoffs entirely?

A nightmare scenario for Indy fans, indeed.

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Here is the set of events that could lead to the Colts missing the playoffs this season:

  • Colts lose, Chargers win or tie
  • Colts lose and Steelers win
  • Colts lose, Ravens win, and Dolphins lose or tie

Ben Rolfe is a Senior Managing Editor at Pro Football Network and is also a member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association (FSWA). You can find him on Twitter @BenRolfePFN.

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