Thomas J. Russo/USA Today

Indianapolis beats non-playoff teams, loses to the postseason bound

How can you determine who is a playoff team this year? One way is how teams have fared against the Indianapolis Colts, the Minnesota Vikings’ opponent Sunday.

Are the Minnesota Vikings a playoff team this year? There may be no more accurate a test to prove or disprove that question than the Indianapolis Colts.

Quite simply stated, the Colts beat the teams that aren’t heading to the playoffs and lose to the ones that are in line to make it there.

Is Detroit a playoff team? Unless they lose all three of their remaining games, it’s hard to imagine the NFC playoffs without them. The Lions beat the Colts 38-35.

Is Denver a team with playoff potential? The defending champs have the personnel and the defense to win any game, but their final games are against teams with a combined record of 31-8. If they’re getting to the playoffs, they’re going to earn it. The Broncos beat the Colts 34-20.

Is Houston a playoff team? Not really, but they’re in first place in the AFC South, primarily because they swept the Colts in their two games, winning 26-23 in overtime and 22-17.

Is Tennessee a playoff team? They’re a game ahead of Indianapolis in the standings, but got swept by the Colts in their two head-to-head meetings. If they end up with the same record, there’s no way the Titans are a playoff team.

Is Chicago a playoff team? Who are we kidding? The Colts beat them 29-23.

Is Kansas City a playoff team? It wouldn’t be the playoffs without them at 10-3. One of those wins came when they dismantled the Colts 30-14.

Is Pittsburgh a playoff team? The currently lead the AFC North by one game, thanks to beating the Colts 28-7 in Indianapolis.

Are the Jets a playoff team? They’ve already been eliminated. One of those coffin nails was delivered by Indianapolis in a 41-10 blowout.

Perhaps the biggest question that has been asked of the 2016 Colts season is if their game with the Green Bay Packers follow suit with the rest of their season? The Colts have a great track record of beating teams that aren’t going to the playoffs and losing to those teams that are. Indy went into Lambeau Field and beat the Packers 31-26. Does that mean Green Bay isn’t a playoff team? We’ll have to wait and see.

The Colts are 6-7 for a reason. They lose to the teams that are better than them and beat lesser opponents.

Will the Vikings be a playoff team in 2016? From the looks of things, Sunday will help shape that answer – for better or worse.

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