Colts playoff chances: What Indianapolis’ postseason outlook looks like after OT win vs. Titans

Don’t look now, but the Colts are 7-5 and right in the thick of a loaded AFC playoff picture. 

A month ago, Indianapolis was sitting at 3-5, losers of three in a row. The Colts’ defense was atrocious, having allowed at least 37 points in three consecutive games. With star rookie Anthony Richardson out for the year, Gardner Minshew was at the helm of the offense, but it was not enough to make up for an awful defensive unit. 

However, the Colts have turned the tide. Indianapolis won its fourth game in a row in Week 13, taking down Tennessee in overtime on Sunday afternoon to improve to 7-5. After the Titans kicked a field goal on the opening drive of the extra frame, Minshew and Co. marched all the way down the field, ending the game with a four-yard touchdown pass from Minshew to Michael Pittman Jr. for the win. 

With the victory, Indy finds itself jockeying not only for a wild card spot, but also potentially the lead in the AFC South. Sitting at 7-5, the Colts are in the final wild card spot in the AFC, owning the tiebreaker over the Texans, who also are 7-5. 

MORE: Updated NFL standings, playoff picture for Week 13

But just what are Indy’s chances at making the playoffs? Here’s what to know about the AFC playoff race as the postseason draws nearer.

Colts playoff chances

There are a handful of AFC teams sitting right at or above .500 who remain in the hunt for the playoffs. The Colts are one of those contenders. 

With five weeks remaining on the NFL schedule, the Colts are in a position to potentially land one of the wild-card spots. They are one of eight teams in the conference with at least seven wins. 

Team Record
Steelers 7-4
Browns 7-4
Colts 7-5
Texans 7-5
Broncos 6-6
Bills 6-6
Bengals 5-6

Given all of the teams that are bunched up in the middle, the Sporting News’ model projects that Colts to have a 54.2% chance at making the postseason. The model favors the Steelers, Browns and Texans to finish with better records than the Colts, giving those three organizations the three wild card spots. 

Team xW-L WC% Playoff%
Browns 10-7 63.5% 70.4%
Texans 10-7 62.6% 69.6%
Steelers 9-8 51.8% 57.0%
Colts 9-8 50.6% 54.2%
Bills 9-8 21.9% 23.4%
Broncos 8-9 11.8% 11.9%
Chargers 8-9 11.4% 11.7%

As for the division, Indianapolis has an outside chance at finishing first in the AFC South, but again, the Sporting News model does not favor them. The Jaguars have an 89.3% chance of winning the division, which would be Jacksonville’s second divisional title in as many years. It has the Texans at 7.0% and the Colts at 3.6%. 

Team xW-L Div% WC% Playoff% No. 1 seed% AFC% SB%
Jaguars 12-5 89.3% 9.9% 99.2% 14.9% 10.4% 4.5%
Texans 10-7 7.0% 62.6% 69.6% 0.0% 1.3% 0.4%
Colts 9-8 3.6% 50.6% 54.2% 0.0% 0.3% 0.1%
Titans 5-12 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%

Crazier things have happened, but it does appear if the Colts want a shot at the postseason, then landing a wild card spot is the most realistic route. 

Colts remaining schedule

Indianapolis’ schedule is not overly difficult to end the year. According to Tankathon, the Colts have the 16th-hardest schedule for the rest of the 2023 regular season. 

The Colts have two matchups against AFC North opponents, with a game next week against the Joe Burrow-less Bengals before a pivotal matchup against the Steelers, who also are wild card contenders. 

The Colts play the Falcons on Christmas Eve and the Raiders on New Year’s Eve before ending the year at home against the Texans, which very well could end up being a win-and-in situation. 

Week Date Opponent Kickoff time TV
14 Dec. 10 at Bengals 1 p.m. ET CBS
15 Dec. 16 vs. Steelers (Saturday) 4:30 p.m. ET NFLN
16 Dec. 24 at Falcons 1 p.m. ET Fox
17 Dec. 31 vs. Raiders 1 p.m. ET CBS
18 Jan. 7* vs. Texans TBD TBD

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