One bullet dodged, nine more to go in the Indianapolis Colts’ most improbable playoff possibility.
When the Denver Broncos outlasted the Cincinnati Bengals 20-17 in overtime Monday night, it kept the Colts in mathematical contention for a playoff berth in Week 17. But it’s going to take nothing short of a miracle.
To open the door further, the Houston Texans (8-7) must lose at home to the Jacksonville Jaguars (5-10). The Texans will be overwhelming favorites to clinch the AFC South Division title and eliminate the Colts in the process.
But if the Texans lose, the Colts (7-8) must take care of business by winning at home against the Tennessee Titans (3-12) at Lucas Oil Stadium. Problem is, the Colts don’t know who’s playing quarterback yet. Head coach Chuck Pagano didn’t have an update on if Andrew Luck will be cleared. Backup Matt Hasselbeck suffered a right shoulder sprain Sunday and Pagano conceded the 40-year-old passer is doubtful. Third-string quarterback Charlie Whitehurst was placed on injured reserve Monday with a hamstring injury.
That leaves first-year pro Stephen Morris, claimed off Philadelphia’s practice squad last week, as the Colts’ only healthy quarterback.
If all that happens, then keep an eye on these seven games, and keep in mind, some of them are rather unrealistic outcomes:
The Miami Dolphins (5-10) must upset the visiting New England Patriots (12-3). And the Pats are playing to lock down the AFC’s No. 1 seed, so good luck with that.
The Baltimore Ravens (5-10) must go on the road and upset the Cincinnati Bengals (11-4). The Buffalo Bills (7-8) must win at home against the New York Jets (10-5), who need the win to clinch a playoff spot. The host Atlanta Falcons (8-7) must defeat the New Orleans Saints (6-9). The Pittsburgh Steelers (9-6) must win on the road at the Cleveland Browns (3-12).
Then the Oakland Raiders (7-8) must go on the road and defeat the Kansas City Chiefs (10-5), who have won nine in a row. And the Broncos (11-4) must win at home against the San Diego Chargers (4-11).
Yeah, don’t count on it, Colts fans.
Phillip B. Wilson also can be found on Facebook and Google+.