NFL Week 17 Power Rankings: Colts soar into top 10 and look primed for a wild postseason ride

Before the NFL season started, an NFL head coach told me there is some sentiment around the league that the hot wild card team down the stretch might be the better way to win a title than by simply winning a division title. 

We saw that last year with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Remember, they were a wild card team that went out on the road and won three games to get to the Super Bowl.

So who Is the best candidate this year? It’s the Indianapolis Colts. The Colts, fresh off two impressive victories over teams that had been their conference’s top seeds up until the past few weeks, have the mental toughness, the physical style and the outstanding coaching that makes them a team that can make a real Super Bowl run as a wild card team.

They might be the team nobody wants to play come playoff time. 

Running the football travels in the postseason, including in bad weather. The Colts run it as well as any team in the league, led by MVP-candidate Jonathan Taylor, who is the league’s leading rusher. 

With Taylor keying the offense, the Colts can pound the football and then take shots with Carson Wentz, who can be inconsistent when asked to carry a team. But as a complementary piece, he can make it work. 

With Wentz possibly out this week after the Colts placed him on the reserve/COVID list Tuesday, it could be up to Sam Ehlinger to beat the Raiders. That will be a real challenge, one that will tell us a lot more about this Colts team. If they win in that scenario, that will send an even louder message to the rest of the AFC about how dangerous they can be come playoff time. 

The defense has made strides the past two weeks in limiting the Patriots and Cardinals in their recent victories. They still need to rush the passer better, as we saw in the second half against New England. But winning at Arizona last Saturday night after all the losses due to COVID shows how mentally tough they…

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