The Tennessee Titans (5-5) and Indianapolis Colts (4-5) have two things in common heading into their rematch this Sunday at Lucas Oil Stadium.
One…both teams scored victories over the Green Bay Packers the last time they took the field. Tennessee hung 47 on the Packers last Sunday in a blowout win in Nashville, and the Colts defeated Green Bay 31-26 at Lambeau Field two weeks ago (on bye last week).
Two…the loser of Sunday’s contest will be all but mathematically eliminated from this year’s playoffs.
Just another in a long list of storylines between the AFC South rivals.
With five losses apiece, the Titans and Colts are currently two games behind the division leading Houston Texans (6-3) in the loss column. The loser could potentially fall three games behind, with Houston currently holding the tie-breaker with early season wins over both teams.
And the scary part? The wildcard playoff route would be even tougher than winning the division.
Tennessee is currently eighth in the AFC, the Colts are currently 10th. The wildcard berths will be awarded to the two non-division winners with the best records, and the AFC West has the inside track with Oakland and Kansas City sitting at 7-2, followed by Denver at 7-3.
The Raiders own the head to head tie-breaker over the Titans with their week 3 victory at Nissan Stadium, and the Chiefs and Broncos each scored victories over the Colts this season, giving them the head to head advantage in that tie-breaking scenario.
A sixth loss would be a crushing blow to the already fledgling wildcard chances for both the Titans and Colts with just a few games left to play in the regular season.
They both, however, have games remaining against Houston, so their best shot at post season play will most likely occur as a result of winning the division.
But in order for either team to keep their playoff hopes alive, they will have to buck recent trends.
Tennessee has lost ten straight games to Indianapolis. They are winless against quarterback Andrew Luck, and have not won a game at Lucas Oil Stadium since it opened in 2008.
The Colts haven’t won consecutive games all season, and have been quite hospitable to opposing teams…losing three of their five home games this year.
Something has got to give this Sunday in Indianapolis, and if you’re the Tennessee Titans, it cannot be another win to the Colts.