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NFL playoff picture: Who to root for in Week 16 if you are a Indianapolis Colts fan

Week 16 is here and the Indianapolis Colts are in the AFC playoff picture. Who should Colts fans root for to help their chances?

Gardner Minshew #10 of the Indianapolis Colts directs his team in the game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Lucas Oil Stadium on December 16, 2023 in Indianapolis, Indiana. Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images

The Indianapolis Colts will take on the Atlanta Falcons in Week 16 of the NFL season. They are currently 8-6, sitting in second place in the AFC South and as the current No. 7 seed in the AFC playoff picture. If you are a Colts fan, you’ll have a few games you’ll be paying attention to as they look to improve their chances of a playoff berth.

Result: The Colts lost 29-10 to the Falcons. Amazingly, they still have a grasp on the last playoff spot since they hold the tiebreaker over the other three 8-7 teams in the AFC for the moment.

Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Result: The Buccaneers beat the Jaguars 30-12. If only the Colts could have beaten the Falcons, but this is the next best thing. There is now a 3-way tie for the AFC South lead, but the Jaguars still hold the tiebreaker.

The Jaguars are 8-6 and leading the AFC South. They own the head-to-head tiebreaker over Indianapolis due to sweeping both of the divisional matchups this season. If the Colts can beat the Falcons and the Buccaneers can beat the Jaguars, Indianapolis would move into first place in the division and the No. 4 seed in the AFC playoff picture.

The Buccaneers are the 3-point favorites at DraftKings Sportsbook. Tampa Bay has -162 moneyline odds, while Jacksonville is installed as the +136 underdog. The point total is set at 40.5.

Cleveland Browns vs. Houston Texans

Result: The Texans lost to the Browns 36-22. The Colts stay ahead of them in the playoff standings due to the tiebreaker.

This is a tough one for Indy fans. You likely don’t want to root for Houston as a division rival, but the Colts currently hold the head-to-head edge over the Texans. If both teams were to win this week, Indianapolis would stay ahead of them in the standings. They meet again in Week 18, and it could have huge playoff implications depending on what happens in the next two weeks.

Cleveland has the better record and is the current No. 5 seed in the AFC playoffs. The Browns would move to 10-5 with a win and games against the New York Jets and Cincinnati Bengals left. Cleveland does own the head-to-head tiebreaker over Indianapolis, so if they end up having the same record, they get the edge. With what we know at this moment, it would be better for the Colts’ faithful if the Browns lose.

The Browns are 3-point favorites at DraftKings Sportsbook. Cleveland has -155 moneyline odds, while Houston is installed as the +130 underdog. The point total is set at 40.

Cincinnati Bengals vs. Pittsburgh Steelers

Result: The Steelers won the game, 34-11. Cincinnati moves to No. 10 in the AFC standings, moving the Colts up to No. 6 for the time being.

The Bengals will go on the road to take on a disappointing Steelers team. Cincinnati lost to them in Week 12, but Pittsburgh has lost three straight games since. The Bengals are 8-6 and the No. 6 seed in the AFC. Cincinnati beat Indy in Week 14 and has the head-to-head tiebreaker. The Colts need the Bengals to lose this game because a win for Pittsburgh doesn’t affect them much, as they own the head-to-head tiebreaker from last week’s win.

Cincinnati is the 2.5-point favorite at DraftKings Sportsbook. The Bengals have -155 odds on the moneyline, and the Steelers are the +130 underdog.

Buffalo Bills vs. Los Angeles Chargers

Result: Buffalo beat the Chargers 24-22 on Saturday night.

The Bills are currently sitting outside the playoff picture at the No. 9 seed, but they have back-to-back wins over the Kansas City Chiefs and the Dallas Cowboys. They are heavy favorites over the Chargers, and a win would move them to 9-6 on the season. If Buffalo wins and the Colts and Texans both lose, Buffalo would jump up to the No. 7 spot in the playoffs.