Thanks to a late touchdown pass by Dan Orlovsky, the Indianapolis Colts defeated the Houston Texans, 19-16, on Thursday night, dealing another blow to one of the Ravens’ challengers for a first-round bye in the AFC.
The Texans, who have lost two games in a span of five days, are now 10-5 and sit alone in the No. 3 spot in the AFC standings. The 10-4 Ravens, who play the Cleveland Browns on Saturday, are No. 2 in the conference.
Without getting into all the playoff scenarios involving the New England Patriots, who at 11-3 are in position to get the top seed, and the Pittsburgh Steelers, who can still win the AFC North, the Texans’ loss on Thursday night gives the Ravens a significant edge over the Texans for a first-round bye. Because the Ravens have the head-to-head tiebreaker, they would have to lose their final two games for the Texans to overtake them.
Simply put: If the Ravens win out, they will get a first-round bye (which would be huge for Anquan Boldin).
As for the Colts, with two straight wins, they have jeopardized their chances for the No. 1 pick in April’s NFL draft. If they win next week and the Minnesota Vikings and St. Louis Rams both lose their remaining games, they will move out of last place (and squander a chance to select Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck first overall).