There’s just one AFC playoff spot remaining, and the two teams still in the running for it are the Indianapolis Colts and Jacksonville Jaguars. Here’s how things can play out: If the Colts beat the Titans, Indy wins the division and makes the playoffs. If the Colts lose, the Jags can win the division by beating the Texans.
Of course, there’s a major problem afoot (or, a-finger) for the Jags — QB David Garrard is out with a finger injury. That means starting duties fall to Trent Edwards, the former Bills signal-caller claimed off waivers in late September after he was benched and later released by Buffalo. Edwards has played in one game with Jacksonville, completing 14 of 24 passes for 140 yards, with 2 interceptions.
On the Indy side of things, the outlook is much rosier. The Colts’ running game has been revitalized the last two weeks to help key the playoff run. They rolled up 155 yards on the ground against Jacksonville on Dec. 19 and ran the ball 39 times against the Raiders — led by the two-headed monster of Joseph Addai and Dominic Rhodes. It’s a big turnaround after Indianapolis averaged 60 yards rushing in six games from Nov. 7-Dec. 9.
In other AFC playoff-scenario games…
— The KC Chiefs have clinched the AFC West, so all that’s left to play for is seeding. They can finish with the No. 3 seed in the conference, but will need a win over the Raiders to do so. The Colts could still snag the No. 3 seed if KC loses to the Raiders and Indy beats Tennessee.
— The New York Jets have also clinched a playoff seed (wildcard), but it’s still undecided if they’ll be the No. 5 or 6. They don’t control much of their own fate.If Pittsburgh wins (or Baltimore loses), then Baltimore is the 5 seed and New York is the 6 seed. If Pittsburgh loses, and Baltimore wins, then the Jets can get the #5 seed with a win, in which case Pittsburgh would drop to the #6 seed. Baltimore cannot be the #6 seed.
— The Baltimore Ravens have clinched a playoff spot, but could win the AFC North and get a first-round bye with a win over the Cincinnati Bengals and a Pittsburgh loss to the Browns in Cleveland.