Week 11 AFC South Who to Root For: What's Best for Texans, Colts, Titans & Jags

Nate Dunlevy@NateDunlevyGuest ColumnistNovember 15, 2012

Andrew Luck approves of the Dolphins losing.
Andrew Luck approves of the Dolphins losing.Kim Klement-US PRESSWIRE

Welcome to 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 10 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 65.5 percent according to the Football Outsiders.

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

Where They Stand: Houston has a one-game lead plus a tiebreaker over Baltimore. It has a two-game lead over New England and is up two games plus a tie breaker over Denver.

Who to Root For:

Indianapolis over New England: This is a tough call because the Colts could technically threaten for the AFC South should Houston stumble. In this case, play the odds that Indy will lose plenty of other games, and keep the Patriots at arms length.

San Diego over Denver

Pittsburgh over Baltimore

Indianapolis Colts

Playing for: a wild-card berth (44.9 percent), a possible division title (1.6 percent).

Top Competitors: Pittsburgh Steelers, Miami Dolphins, San Diego Chargers, Cincinnati Bengals, Tennessee Titans, Houston Texans

Where They Stand: Indy has a two-game lead plus a tie-breaker over Miami. It has a conference tie-breaker over Pittsburgh. The Colts are up two games over the Chargers and two over Cincinnati. They are up 2.5 games over the Titans, but own a tie-breaker.

Who to Root For:

Buffalo over Miami

Kansas City over Cincinnati

Texans over the Jaguars: This one may be counter-intuitive. On one hand, the Colts are still alive to win the AFC South, but most would agree the odds are slim. If Houston clinches the top overall seed early, they may rest starters Week 17 against the Colts. Rooting for the Texans is the right way to go.

Denver over San Diego

Baltimore over Pittsburgh

Tennessee Titans

Playing for: A wild-card berth (4.8 percent). The Titans are alive by the slimmest of margins. We'll keep them here until their next game. If they lose, they will be playing for draft position.

Where The Stand: Tennessee is 2.5 games behind the Colts, and loses a tiebreaker. They are 2.5 games behind the Steelers and win a tiebreaker. They are a half game behind other contenders.

Who to Root for:

New England over Indianapolis

Buffalo over Miami

Kansas City over Cincinnati

Denver over San Diego

Baltimore over Pittsburgh

Jacksonville Jaguars

Playing for: The top pick in the 2013 draft. Their odds stand at 49.1 percent.

Top Competitors: Kansas City Chiefs, Carolina Panthers, Cleveland Browns

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 10 for Kansas City is 73-71. The full strength of schedule for the Jaguars is 82-65.

Kansas City is comfortably in front.

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.

Kansas City over Cincinnati

Buffalo over Miami

Atlanta over Arizona

Cleveland over Dallas

Saint Louis over the New York Jets

New Orleans over Oakland

Denver over San Diego

New England over Indianapolis

Carolina over Tampa Bay


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