This upcoming week, the Colts have a crucial matchup looming vs. the Buffalo Bills. The Colts’ playoff hopes hang in limbo at this point in the season, and beating the Bills is priority number one. With the Patriots beating the Falcons handily last night, it adds even more importance to this matchup. The Bills will be in 2nd place in the AFC East if they win against the Colts this weekend. On the other hand, if the Bills lose to the Colts, they fall into the wild card hunt right behind the Colts (because of the head-to-head tiebreaker).
A Colts win this week would be huge in helping boost their chances to make the playoffs as a wild card team. The Colts do not only have to worry about the Bills and Patriots on their schedule, but they have to worry about those teams in the wildcard along with the Raiders, Steelers, Bengals, Browns, and the Chargers. Those seven teams are fighting alongside the Colts for a playoff spot this season, and it makes every game have more meaning than the last.
Five of the seven teams potentially fighting for a wild card spot have the same record as the Colts (besides Bills and Pats). This means the Colts’ destiny is not entirely in their control. For the Colts to have a perfect week, they must win versus the Bills and have a couple of losses pinned on the other wildcard hopefuls.
This game means more to the Colts and has more importance than the Tampa Bay matchup next week. Tampa Bay is a non-conference opponent, so winning vs. them does not help get the Colts towards the playoffs besides increasing the win total. On the other hand, beating Buffalo, a conference opponent, would help the Colts’ in tiebreaker situations when fighting for the wild card. It could be a factor when tied with the Bills (head-to-head matchup), or it could also be a factor when tied with other potential playoff teams (record vs. conference opponent).
Every game coming up for the Colts is important, but the quest to win is now because as time passes, the playoffs will be out of reach for the Colts. The sooner they win these heavily contested matchups, the higher chances they have at making the playoffs. If the Colts lose this week, their hopes of making the playoffs continue to drop during a critical part of the season. The Buffalo matchup will be the turning point for the Colts this season.