Where do Colts stand in AFC Playoff picture after Week 14 loss to Bengals?

The Indianapolis Colts suffered an embarrassing loss to the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday. Did the game knock Indy out of the playoff picture?
Indianapolis Colts v Cincinnati Bengals
Indianapolis Colts v Cincinnati Bengals / Dylan Buell/GettyImages

The Indianapolis Colts entered Week 14 occupying one of the three wild card spots. With five games remaining, against struggling opponents, fans were starting to believe that Indy would be able to make its way into the postseason. Then, Sunday happened and Indianapolis played the Cincinnati Bengals.

The Bengals embarrassed the Colts, winning the game 34-14. It was Indy’s worst game of the year, as all three units performed poorly. Now, Indianapolis is 7-6 and losses at this time of the season can really hurt a team in a crowded playoff race. Fortunately, the Colts are still in possession of one of the wild card spots.

Colts still in NFL playoff picture after Week 14 loss

After Sunday’s games, Indianapolis is currently the No. 7 seed. That’s the final playoff spot. The Pittsburgh Steelers, Colts, Houston Texans, Denver Broncos, Cincinnati Bengals, and Buffalo Bills all have 7-6 records. However, because of various tie-breaking procedures, their order in the standings are as previously written; Pittsburgh is No. 6 and the Bills are No. 11.

With two NFC teams playing in one Monday Night Football game and the 9-3 Miami Dolphins taking on the 4-8 Tennessee Titans in the other, the results of Monday’s games won’t have an impact on Indy’s standing in the playoff picture. However, the final four games of the regular season certainly will.

For the Colts, the most important thing is winning. Two of Indy’s four remaining games are against the Steelers and the Texans, two of the other 7-6 teams. Winning those games will help Indy get some separation in this crowded race. Also, those two games, along with the Week 17 game against the Las Vegas Raiders, will give the Colts the opportunity to improve their conference record. That’s one of the key tie-breakers. So as long as Indy handles business down the stretch of the season, the Colts should be making a postseason appearance.