Smoking hot Colts likely headed West

Posted by ESPN.com's Bill Williamson

While we wait to see who will represent the AFC West in the playoffs, it looks like the Indianapolis Colts will be headed out West in the wild card round on the weekend of Jan. 3-4.

The Colts secured the No. 5 spot in the AFC playoffs with a win at Jacksonville on Thursday night. It appears likely the winner of the AFC West will be the No. 4 seed. If San Diego wins the West, it will definitely be the No. 4 seed. Thus, if the Chargers get past Denver, they will host Indianapolis.

If Denver wins the division, there is still a chance it could be the No. 3 seed but it seems unlikely.

Denver, 8-6, can clinch the AFC West title with either a win or a tie in its final two games or with a loss or a tie by San Diego, 6-8, in its final two games. San Diego plays at Tampa Bay on Sunday and Denver hosts Buffalo. If the Chargers win and the Broncos lose it would setup a winner-takes-all regular season finale in San Diego on Dec. 28.

Then, it appears, the Colts, who have won eight straight games, wait for the winner. Both Denver and San Diego have a recent playoff history against Indianapolis.

Denver was blow out in Indianapolis in the wild card round after both the 2003 and 2004 seasons. San Diego won at Indianapolis last season in the divisional round. The Colts and Chargers have played in the regular season in San Diego both this season and last season. The Chargers secured the win late in the game last season and the Colts won as time expired in San Diego last month.