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How can the Colts clinch a playoff spot in Week 18?

We discuss the scenarios that could see the Indianapolis Colts clinching a playoff spot in Week 18.

Gardner Minshew #10 talks with Head coach Shane Steichen of the Indianapolis Colts during the fourth quarter at Lucas Oil Stadium on October 08, 2023 in Indianapolis, Indiana. Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images

The Indianapolis Colts close out the 2023 regular season in Week 18 when they host the Houston Texans. The winner clinches a playoff berth and has a chance at the AFC South division title. The loser heads home for the offseason.

The Colts are a 1.5-point underdog at DraftKings Sportsbook, but do have one win over the Texans back in Week 2. C.J. Stroud has emerged as one of the best rookies in the league this season, which helps explain their favored status.

Here are the scenarios in which the Colts would clinch a playoff berth to close out the regular season.

Indianapolis Colts playoff clinching scenarios - Week 18

Clinch AFC South with:

  1. IND win + JAX loss or tie OR
  2. IND tie + JAX loss

Clinch playoff berth with:

  1. IND win OR
  2. IND tie + PIT loss or tie

The Jacksonville Jaguars are a 5.5-point favorite on the road against the Tennessee Titans. Jacksonville could clinch a playoff berth with a loss, but would need a Broncos loss or tie against the Raiders and a Steelers loss to the Ravens. Both are possible, but the Jaguars wouldn’t know full results when they play on Sunday.

Pittsburgh is a 3.5-point road favorite against Baltimore. They’re favored because the Ravens clinched the No. 1 seed in the AFC last week, so they will be resting starters on Saturday.

Update - The Colts were defeated by the Texans, 23-17, which eliminated Indianapolis from playoff contention.