ESPN simulated final three weeks of the season; are Colts projected to make playoffs?

With three weeks remaining in the regular season, everyone is curious to see which teams will make the playoffs. ESPN recently ran a simulation to get an idea.
Pittsburgh Steelers v Indianapolis Colts
Pittsburgh Steelers v Indianapolis Colts / Justin Casterline/GettyImages

As the NFL enters Week 16, there are so many things still up in the air. While three teams in the NFC have already clinched playoff berths, only one AFC team has punched its ticket to the postseason and that’s the Baltimore Ravens. In both conferences, there are a ton of teams fighting to win their respective divisions or grab a wild card spot in the final three weeks of the season.

Among those teams are the Indianapolis Colts. Currently with an 8-6 record, Indy would be the seventh and final seed in the AFC if the playoffs started today. However, every team has three games left to play, which means the Colts could move up or down in the AFC. What’s most likely to happen?

Seth Walder and ESPN’s analytics team recently ran some simulations to project the most likely results in the next three weeks. As Walder highlights, there are 48 games remaining in the season and 26 teams still in playoff contention, so there’s a lot of dominos to fall. Luckily, the Colts have a promising outlook.

ESPN’s model projects that Indianapolis will make the postseason this year as a six seed.

ESPN projects Colts will make playoffs

The simulations projected that Indianapolis would defeat the Atlanta Falcons 17-16 in Week 16, the Las Vegas Raiders 34-20 in Week 17, and the Houston Texans 34-24 in the regular season Week 18 finale. The three wins would move the Colts to an 11-6 record and secure them a playoff spot.

Interestingly enough, this projection has the Ravens as the No. 1 seed with a 12-5 record, but every other team projected to make the playoffs has an 11-6 record. So seeds two through six would all be 11-6, one game behind the top seed, if everything unfolded how the simulation projects.

Notably, the first team out is the Houston Texans at 10-7. That means the model expects Houston and the Colts to enter the regular season finale at 10-6 with a playoff spot on the line. Last season, these two teams met in Week 18 with the top overall pick on the line. That would be a dramatic turnaround in just a year.

We’ll see if the humans can produce the results that the numbers projected.