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AFC Playoff standings, tiebreakers, potential seeding: Colts will make playoffs with Week 18 win over Houston Texans

By virtue of their win over the Las Vegas Raiders and the Cincinnati Bengals' loss to the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday, the Colts will make the AFC playoffs as at least a wild card team if they beat the Texans in Week 18. 

The Colts will host the Houston Texans on Saturday, Jan. 6 at 8:15 p.m. at Lucas Oil Stadium. For more information, click here.

Key Week 17 results:

  • Colts 23, Raiders 20: No. 7 seed Colts improve to 9-7; Raiders eliminated from postseason
  • Jaguars 26, Panthers 0: AFC South-leading Jaguars improve to 9-7
  • Texans 26, Titans 3: No. 8 seed Texans improve to 9-7
  • Browns 37, Jets 20: Browns improve to 11-5, clinch AFC No. 5 seed
  • Bills 27, Patriots 21: No. 6 seed Bills improve to 10-6
  • Chiefs 25, Bengals 17: Bengals eliminated from playoff contention
  • Steelers 30, Seahawks 23: No. 9 seed Steelers improve to 9-7
  • Ravens 56, Dolphins 19: Ravens clinch AFC No. 1 seed; Dolphins fall to 11-5; Week 18's Dolphins-Bills game will determine AFC North champion

Colts vs Texans Tickets

Join us for our final regular season home game against the Houston Texans at Lucas Oil Stadium! First 50,000 fans receive a knitted scarf for Fan Appreciation. Limited tickets are available here.

AFC Standings (*denotes division leader; Broncos and Patriots play Sunday night; Ravens, Chiefs, Raiders play on Monday)

  1. Baltimore Ravens (13-3)*
  2. Miami Dolphins (11-5)*
  3. Kansas City Chiefs (9-6)*
  4. Jacksonville Jaguars (9-7)*
  5. Cleveland Browns (11-5)
  6. Buffalo Bills (10-6)
  7. Indianapolis Colts (9-7)
  8. Houston Texans (9-7)
  9. Pittsburgh Steelers (9-7)
  10. Denver Broncos (8-8)
  11. Cincinnati Bengals (8-8)
  12. Las Vegas Raiders (7-9)
  13. New York Jets (6-10)
  14. Tennessee Titans (5-11)
  15. Los Angeles Chargers (5-11)
  16. New England Patriots (4-12)

What Colts need to make the playoffs in Week 18

The math is simple: If the Colts win on Saturday night, they're in.

If the Colts win and the Jaguars lose or tie, they will win the AFC South. If the Colts and Jaguars win, the Colts will be a wild card, either as the No. 6 or No. 7 seed depending on the result of the Bills-Dolphins game.

The Colts own tiebreakers over the Steelers (head-to-head) or Bills (conference record) and would be seeded ahead of both teams if they finish with the same record. The Jaguars own tiebreakers over both the Colts and Texans and will win the AFC South with a victory against the Titans.

By virtue of the Bengals' loss to the Chiefs, there is no scenario in which the Colts would not make the playoffs with a win on Sunday. There is also no scenario in which the Colts make the playoffs with a loss.

The Colts could make the playoffs with a tie and:

  • A Jaguars loss (win AFC South)
  • A Steelers loss (win AFC No. 7 seed due to head-to-head tiebreaker with Texans)

Potential seeding scenarios

If the Colts make the playoffs, they could finish the 2023 season either as the AFC No. 4, 6 or 7 seed. Here's how:

  • No. 4 seed: Win vs. Texans + Jaguars loss or tie (clinches AFC South)
  • No. 6 seed: Win vs. Texans + Jaguars win AND Bills lose
  • No. 7 seed: Win vs. Texans + Jaguars win AND Bills win

The Colts' possible opponents if they were to make the playoffs could be home against Cleveland Browns (as the No. 4 seed AFC South winners), away against the Kansas City Chiefs (as the No. 6 seed), away against the Bills (as the No. 7 seed with a Bills win) or away against the Dolphins (as the No. 7 seed with a Bills-Dolphins tie).

Week 18 games that will impact the Colts:

Jaguars (9-7):

  • Week 18, 1 p.m. Sunday: at Titans (5-11)

Bills (10-6):

  • Week 18, 8:20 p.m. Sunday: at Dolphins (11-5)

Texans (9-7):

  • Week 18, 8:15 p.m. Saturday: at Colts (9-7)

Interested in playoff tickets? Visit the Colts Playoff Central for the most up-to-date information.

View the Top 100 Indianapolis Colts photos from 2023 as we countdown to the new year!

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