Pros and cons of every potential Colts playoff seed ahead of Week 18
How the Colts can be the 6th seed
Indianapolis has two paths to the sixth seed, and both involves Indy winning. For the first scenario, in addition to the Colts winning, the Patriots have to beat the Dolphins and the Chargers have to win against the Raiders.
In the second scenario, Indy has to win, the Dolphins have to win against the Patriots and the Raiders have to defeat the Chargers.
Sixth Seed Scenario 1: Colts win + Patriots win + Chargers win
Sixth Seed Scenario 2: Colts win + Dolphins win + Raiders win
If either of these two scenarios happen, Indianapolis will land the sixth seed and set up a Wild Card round with the third seed. That will likely be the Cincinnati Bengals.
Pros of being the 6th seed
Like the fifth seed, one of the benefits is there’s a slim chance of hosting a playoff game. The other pros to the sixth seed are matchup-based.
Cincinnati is a young team and sometimes that matters in the postseason. In games with playoff intensity, things don’t always unfold smoothly. It’s possible that when the pressure rises, the Bengals’ inexperience may cause them to falter.
Additionally, Cincinnati has a mediocre defense. The Bengals allow 349.3 yards a game and 22.2 points, ranking them 18th and 17th in the league, respectively.
Cincinnati is stout against the run, allowing just 96.1 rushing yards a game, but they are vulnerable in the secondary, giving up 253.2 passing yards a game, sixth-most in the NFL.
Cons of being the 6th seed
While the opportunity to score on the Bengals defense will be there, Cincinnati’s offense can score with anyone, and that’s what’s scary about this young team.
The young core of Joe Burrow, Ja’Marr Chase, Joe Mixon, Tee Higgins, and Tyler Boyd has proven to be as dangerous as any group in the NFL. They average 372.7 yards and 27.8 points a game, both top 10 in the NFL.
Considering some of the Colts struggles against the pass, this could be an unfavorable matchup. It has the potential to turn into a shootout and the Bengals have as much firepower as anyone.