Heading into last week’s NFL action, the Indianapolis Colts were 6-6 and given a 10% chance of making the playoffs. But following their road win at AFC South division–leading Houston to snap the Texans nine game winning streak, the Colts are back in the AFC playoff picture with a more realistic chance to join the playoff party.
The Texans (9-4) are still likely to win the AFC South and make the jump from worst to first following last years 4-win season. But the Colts and Comeback Player of the Year Andrew Luck have won six of their last seven games to surge into playoff contention.
Indianapolis (7-6) is tied with Tennessee for 2ndplace in the AFC South, and those two teams are tied with Baltimore for the final wild card spot in the AFC with three games remaining.
The Colts beat the Titans 38-10 on Nov. 18, and those two teams will settle the score in Week 17 at Tennessee in what could be a play-in game to the playoffs.
But before those two division rivals play, the Colts must take care of the Cowboys in Week 15, and the situation, scheduling and stats of QB Andrew Luck suggests Indianapolis will deliver a victory over Dallas as a 3-point home favorite. The Cowboys have the stronger running game and defense, but so did the Texans in last week’s match-up and the Colts emerged with the 24-21 victory while getting out-rushed by the Texans 86-50. But Andrew Luck passed for 386 yards and the Colts averaged a strong 6.6 yards per play while limiting the Texans to 315 yards at 4.6 yards per play.
Indianapolis needs the game more than Dallas (8-5), who just won the division with last weeks overtime win over Philadelphia to nearly end the playoff hopes for Super Bowl champion Eagles. So Dallas can exhale a bit this week after playing five straight weeks of pressure packed games needing to win week after week to surge past struggling Washington and Philadelphia.
The Cowboys are also in a negative ATS situation off an overtime game last week, as teams coming off a SU/ATS overtime win are just 13-20 ATS the last four years including 6-23 SU/ATS when not favored.
The Colts have confidence, momentum and QB Luck, who is also 13-4 ATS at home when facing a foe with a better record than the Colts.
Ride the Colts to the finish line against the Cowboys and cash.
Remaining schedules for final AFC wild card playoff contenders:
Houston Texans (9-4) – at NY Jets, at Philadelphia, Jacksonville. Texans 96% chance to make playoffs, 81% to win division, 18% first round bye
Indianapolis Colts (7-6) – Dallas, NY Giants, at Tennessee. Colts 27% chance to make playoffs, 7% to win division. 6-5 vs AFC teams adnn 3-2 in division games.
Tennessee Titans (7-6) – at Washington, NY Giants, Indianapolis. Titans 34% to make playoffs, 12% to win division. 5-6 vs AFC teams and 3-2 in division games.
Baltimore Ravens (7-6) – Tampa Bay, at LA Chargers, Cleveland. Ravens 54% to make playoffs and 44% to win AFC North division over Steelers. 6-4 vs AFC teams.
Miami Dolphins (7-6) – at Minnesota, Jacksonville, at Buffalo. Dolphins 20% chance to make playoffs. 6-4 vs AFC teams.
Fairway Jay is a professional handicapper based out of Las Vegas. He focuses primarily on the four majors along with college football and college basketball. You can follow him on Twitter @FairwayJay.