Colts still in the running for the No. 2 seed

INDIANAPOLIS -- Anything other than the No. 4 seed seemed nearly impossible for the Indianapolis Colts when they boarded their bus after a 42-28 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals on Dec. 8.

But thanks to some help from some other teams last weekend, the Colts not only have an opportunity to get the No. 3 seed, they've also got a chance to be the second seed in the AFC playoffs. The top two seeds get a first-round bye and a second-round home game. The Colts can't finish any lower than the No. 4 seed.

Miami and Pittsburgh helped them by beating New England and Cincinnati, respectively, but the Colts need to win their final two games against Kansas City and Jacksonville and also get some assistance from Baltimore in its final two games. The Ravens host the Patriots on Sunday before ending the season on the road against the Bengals. The Colts will win the tiebreaker over the Patriots if both teams finish with an 11-5 record because they'll have a better conference record.

So the Colts have to take care of their business in their final two games and also cheer on the Ravens.

“I always root for those guys,” Colts coach Chuck Pagano said about his former team. “So I guess we'll be rooting for them again. But again, our focus is on us and getting better this week and trying to go play as well as we can play and win a football game. It really won't matter if we don't take care of business. We'll focus on that and I guess we'll root for those guys too.”

The Colts are still in the running for the top seed, but I don't see Peyton Manning and his Denver Broncos losing to Houston and Oakland, especially after they lost to San Diego last week, in their final two games.

Here's a breakdown of the top four teams in the AFC.

  1. Denver (11-3) at Houston, at Oakland

  2. New England (10-4) at Baltimore, vs. Buffalo

  3. Cincinnati (9-5) vs. Minnesota, vs. Baltimore

  4. Colts (9-5) at Kansas City, vs. Jacksonville