Week 15 AFC South Who to Root For: What's Best for Texans, Colts, Titans & Jags

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Week 15 AFC South Who to Root For: What's Best for Texans, Colts, Titans & Jags
Chris Graythen/Getty Images
By the end of the year, you can't help but notice the scoreboard.

Welcome back to "Who to Root For."

Every week from now until the end of the season, this column will help fans of teams in the AFC South know how to root in the games that don't involve their favorite team.

Because playoff tiebreakers and draft scenarios are often tricky, this space will help guide you through the Week 15 slate so you can understand how each game affects your team.

And yes, we here at "Who to Root For" are well aware that we should be called "For Whom to Root." However, as this is the NFL and not the EPL, we're sticking with what works, thank you very much.

 

Houston Texans

Playing For: the top overall seed in the AFC. Their current odds are 60.1 percent, according to the Football Outsiders.

Top Competitors: New England Patriots, Denver Broncos, Baltimore Ravens, Indianapolis Colts

Where They Stand: First and foremost, the Texans need one win over the Colts to clinch the AFC South crown. They play twice in the next three weeks.

Houston is up one game over New England and Denver in the race for the top seed in the conference. They lose a tiebreak to the Patriots, but win one over Denver.

Bob Levey/Getty Images
Half an eye on the scoreboard.

They are up two games and a tiebreak over the Ravens.

Who to Root For:

Ravens over the Broncos: A Ravens loss ensures Houston of no worse than the three seed, but a Broncos loss and a Texans' win would lock down a bye for Houston.

49ers over the Patriots: A loss by the Pats would be a huge step forward for Houston and give the Texans cushion heading down the stretch.

 

Indianapolis Colts

Playing For: The AFC South title or a wild card berth. Their division odds stand at 3.5 percent. Their overall playoff odds are at 92.9 percent.

Top Competitors: Houston Texans, Pittsburgh Steelers, Cincinnati Bengals, New York Jets

Where They Stand: The Colts can win the South if they win out, regardless of what Houston does in Week 16.

Indy clinches a playoff spot with a win or with a Bengals and Jets loss.

A. Messerschmidt/Getty Images
Reggie Wayne will be watching scores after the Colts game.

Who to Root For:

Eagles over the Bengals

Broncos over the Ravens: The Colts want to keep Baltimore down in the four seed. They are likely the only playoff opponent Indy could actually beat, so ensuring the 5-4 matchup is critical.

Cowboys over the Steelers

49ers over the Patriots: Ideally, the Patriots would wind up in the three seed. If Indy lands the five, they would not have to play New England until the AFC Championship round.

Titans over the Jets: A Jets loss makes things much clearer for the Colts. It would basically take a tie in the upcoming Pittsburgh-Cincinnati game to keep Indy out.

 

Tennessee Titans

Playing For: the best draft pick possible. They have an 8.5 percent chance at a top-three pick.

Top competitors: Oakland Raiders, Philadelphia Eagles, Arizona Cardinals, Detroit Lions, Carolina Panthers

Where They Stand: The Titans are tied for the fourth-worst record in football, but they are in a scrum with so many other teams that they could wind up as high as third or as low as 13th.

The situation is such a mess, that it's still too early to calculate tiebreakers.

Who to Root For:

Bengals over the Eagles

Jaguars over the Dolphins: It's not impossible for the Titans to get the top pick. Root for the Jags to win.

Buccaneers over the Saints

Cardinals over the Lions: The Lions might win another game. The Cardinals won't.

Bills over the Seahawks

Panthers over the Chargers

Raiders over the Chiefs: It's still more likely the Titans "catch" the Raiders

 

Jacksonville Jaguars

Playing For: The top pick in the 2013 draft. They have a 57.2 percent chance of landing it.

Top Competitors: Kansas City Chiefs, Oakland Raiders

Where They Stand: The Jaguars are tied with the Chiefs for the worst record in football. The first tiebreaker is strength of schedule, with the worst SOS getting the top pick.

The true strength of schedule is often misreported. The correct way to figure SOS is not to calculate the record for all the teams already played. We already know the full schedule for the year, so there's no reason to pretend the record of future opponents is a variable.

The full strength of schedule as of the end of Week 12 for Kansas City is 104-104. The full strength of schedule for the Jaguars is 112-96. Again, that represents the year-to-date SOS of all 16 teams on the schedule of both clubs.

Kansas City is comfortably in front.

Jacksonville is a game "up" on the Raiders.

Who To Root For:

Jaguars fans have to root against teams the Jaguars play and for teams the Chiefs play other weeks on the schedule.

Eagles over the Bengals

Browns over the Redskins

Colts over the Texans

Broncos over the Ravens

Rams over the Vikings

Falcons over the Giants

Cardinals over the Lions

Seahawks over the Bills

Chargers over the Panthers

Chiefs over the Raiders

Steelers over the Cowboys

49ers over the Patriots

Jets over the Titans

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