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How Colts can clinch a playoff berth in Week 17

The Colts blew a huge lead to the Pittsburgh Steelers last week, making their climb to the postseason much harder. We break down what they need to do in Week 17 to get a spot in the 2021 NFL playoffs.

Indianapolis Colts running back Nyheim Hines (21) runs the ball against the Pittsburgh Steelers during the fourth quarter at Heinz Field. Pittsburgh won 28-24. Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The 10-5 Indianapolis Colts don’t control their own destiny heading into the final week of the season against the Jaguars, so no matter what they’ll need some help to get into the playoffs. That being said, the AFC South title is still a possibility if things break the right way.

If the Colts beat the Jags on Sunday, they’ll still need the either the Titans, Ravens, Browns or Dolphins to lose or tie. If any of those results become reality, the Colts are in. If the Colts lose, they will not make the playoffs regardless of any other outcome.

AFC South title

The Titans hold the tiebreaker edge in the division, but Indianapolis can still clinch the division. If the Colts win on Sunday and the Titans lose or tie at Houston, Indianapolis wins the division and would be the No. 4 seed. If the Colts tie the Jaguars and the Titans lose in Houston, Indianapolis wins the division.

Wild card berth

If the Colts win on Sunday and the Titans win, they still need one of three results to clinch a wild card berth. They would need a loss or tie from either the Ravens (at Bengals), Browns (vs. Steelers), or Dolphins (at Bills).

A less likely scenario is if the Colts somehow finish their game against Jacksonville with a tie and the Titans win. If that happens, Indy will need either the Browns, Ravens or Dolphins to lose to make the playoffs.

If the Colts claim a wild card berth, they would end up anywhere between the No. 5 and No. 7 seeds depending on the outcomes for Baltimore, Cleveland, and Miami.

Indianapolis entered the season as a likely playoff candidate, getting -190 odds at DraftKings Sportsbook to make the playoffs before the season kicked off. They were the odds-on favorite in the AFC South at +120.