It’s still early in the season, but Sunday’s matchup between the Indianapolis Colts and the Jacksonville Jaguars could ultimately have major playoff implications. Entering the game, both teams were 3-2, and it was understood that whoever won would be the outright leader of the AFC South. It was the Jaguars who handled business, defeating the Colts 37-20.
That could be bad news for Indy, who has already played four of its six divisional games. Indianapolis was swept by the Jaguars this season, and that could become important towards the end of the season. Besides the fact that it’s two losses on Indy’s record, it could impact Indianapolis’ chances of making the playoffs.
Jaguars sweeping Colts could hurt Indy’s playoff chances
Starting with the AFC South, it appears as if the division race will be tight. Jacksonville currently leads with a 4-2 record, followed by the 3-3 Colts and 3-3 Houston Texans. The Tennessee Titans sit at the bottom with a 2-4 record. The Jaguars did sweep Indy, but they dropped their game to Houston. The Colts, however, have a win over the Texans and the Titans.
It seems like the Jaguars have hit their stride, and are playing like the team that many expected to run away with the AFC South, however, Indy still has one of the easiest remaining schedules. It’s not unlikely that Indy and Jacksonville could finish the season with similar records. Unfortunately, the Jaguars swept the Colts, so Jacksonville would have any tiebreaker over Indy.
That means if Indianapolis is going to win the division and clinch an automatic spot in the playoffs, the Colts will have to finish with a better record than the Jaguars. That’s not impossible, but it will be a challenge. Even if Jacksonville does win the AFC South, Indy could, of course, make the playoffs as a wildcard team.
Unfortunately, in the loaded AFC, it’s going to be a crowded fight for the three wild card spots. Being swept by Jacksonville will hurt Indy there as well, because one of the NFL’s tiebreakers for playoff seeding is conference record. The Jaguars, alone, gave Indy two AFC losses. So in addition to Indy’s offensive performance causing concern, the loss could comeback to haunt the Colts down the road.