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    Indianapolis Colts vs. Las Vegas Raiders Playoff Scenarios: Vegas’ season on the brink

    The Las Vegas Raiders visit the Indianapolis Colts in an AFC showdown with big-time playoff implications and multiple clinching scenarios.

    The Las Vegas Raiders (8-7) saved their season with one-score wins over the Cleveland Browns and Denver Broncos the last two weeks. But they’ll need to keep it rolling in Week 17 against the surging Indianapolis Colts (9-6), who have won eight of 10 to not only get back into the playoff race, but also to keep things interesting in the AFC South. We check out the playoff-clinching scenarios for the Raiders and Colts.

    Update: The Raiders have defeated the Colts, 23-20. Playoff scenarios are listed below. For a complete up-to-date picture, visit our 2022 NFL Playoff Picture.

    Playoff-clinching scenarios for Raiders vs. Colts

    The Colts are on the precipice of a third playoff appearance in four years — and remarkably, will have done so with three different starting quarterbacks. Andrew Luck was still under center when they went in 2018 and Philip Rivers got Indianapolis to the dance a year ago.

    It’s up to Carson Wentz this time around — assuming he can play Sunday. There are real questions about his availability after he landed on the reserve/COVID-19 list this week. The Raiders, meanwhile, have appeared in just one playoff game — a Wild Card Round loss to the Texans in 2016 — since reaching Super Bowl 37.

    How the Raiders can clinch a playoff spot.

    They cannot, at least this week. And if they do in Week 18, it’ll be as a Wild Card entrant. The Kansas City Chiefs have already locked down the AFC West.

    The Raiders entered the weekend with just an 18% chance to qualify, according to FiveThirtyEight.

    How the Colts can clinch a playoff spot

    Simple. It’s win and get in for Indianapolis. And if Wentz can play, the odds are good the Colts will indeed win. They opened the week favored by as much as a 9-point spread. The Colts could also lock down a spot this week with a tie, but only if:

    • The Ravens lose and the Patriots lose or tie or
    • The Ravens lose and the Dolphins lose or tie

    Other Week 17 playoff implications for Raiders, Colts

    A loss would effectively end the Raiders’ season. Effectively turns to officially if a Raiders loss coincides with wins by the Ravens and Chargers — who both enter Week 17 at 8-7. So, if there were ever a must-win game, this is it for Las Vegas. But on the flip side, if the Raiders can knock off the Colts, they would guarantee themselves a playoff berth if they beat the Chargers in Week 18. You’d have to squint really hard to find a plausible path to the postseason if Las Vegas doesn’t win out, however.

    The Colts, on the other hand, could easily survive a Week 17 loss. Their AFC South hopes, however, would not. Indianapolis has the narrowest of paths to a division crown. Barring ties by the Colts and Titans over the final two weeks — and there has just been one tie in the first 240 games of the NFL regular season — the Colts need to win twice and have the Titans lose twice to host a first-round playoff game. The latter doesn’t seem at all likely, considering the Titans play the Texans in Week 18.

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