The Indianapolis Colts could miss out on the AFC playoffs because starting quarterback Carson Wentz is unvaccinated and will miss the game vs. the Las Vegas Raiders in a must-win game.
In their biggest game of the season, the Indianapolis Colts will be without Carson Wentz vs. the Las Vegas Raiders, as their unvaccinated starting quarterback was placed on the Reserve/COVID list.
Given that the Colts are one of the least vaccinated teams in the NFL, this was bound to happen at some point. Sam Ehlinger is in line to start for the Colts with Wentz out.
The Colts may be 9-6 through Week 16 and currently in fifth place in the AFC, but they are about to be 9-7 with a rookie getting the start at quarterback vs. Derek Carr. If the Raiders win out, they will make the playoffs at 10-7.
One more loss eliminates the Colts from an AFC South crown, as they were swept earlier in the season by the division-leading Tennessee Titans at 10-5.
Carson Wentz testing positive for COVID may cost Indianapolis Colts playoff spot
Even if Wentz clears protocols in time to take on the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 18, the Colts will probably need to win that game and need some other things to happen to reach the AFC playoffs. Among contending AFC teams, Indianapolis has the head-to-head tie-breaker over the Miami Dolphins, Buffalo Bills and New England Patriots, but not the Baltimore Ravens or maybe Raiders.
As for Las Vegas, the Raiders have the head-to-heads over Baltimore, the Pittsburgh Steelers, Miami, Denver Broncos, Cleveland Browns, and potentially Indianapolis. They host the Los Angeles Chargers in Week 18. The only team of note they don’t have the head-to-head tie-breaker over is with the Cincinnati Bengals. Simply put, a 10-7 Raiders team gets one of the three wild card spots.
Ultimately, Indianapolis will likely be 9-7 entering the final week of the season. Even assuming a win over toothless Jacksonville, 10-7 may not be enough to get the Colts in. Heck, the Colts aren’t even guaranteed to beat Jacksonville if Ehlinger gets the start again against Trevor Lawrence. The Colts have been one of the hottest teams in football of late, but COVID-19 quickly changed that.
If the Colts want to make the playoffs, then Jonathan Taylor needs to play like an NFL MVP.