INDIANAPOLIS – For over a week, the Colts knew their seed in the AFC Playoffs.
They had to wait until the last minute to find out who and when they would play.
During halftime of Sunday night’s Bengals and Steelers game, the NFL announced the times and dates of the Wild Card round of the NFL Playoffs. But since the Colts’ opponent was being determined during the game in Pittsburgh, the Colts were given a pair of scenarios based on who wins the game at Heinz Field.
When the Steelers beat the Bengals 27-17 at around 11:30 p.m. on Sunday, a match-up with the Bengals was set.
With the Pittsburgh win, Chuck Pagano’s team will take on the Bengals on Sunday at 1:05 p.m. on CBS. Had the result been different, the Colts would have faced the Steelers on Saturday night at 8:15 p.m. on NBC.
Perhaps that’s good news for Colts fans considering the history of the team’s play against each of those potential opponents in 2014. In arguably their best performance of the season on Oct. 19, the Colts shut out the Bengals 27-0 in a dominating effort at Lucas Oil Stadium.
On the flip side of that, the Colts were beaten by the Steelers 51-34 at Heinz Field in a game which quarterback Ben Roethlisberger threw for six touchdowns and 522 yards.
The Colts and Bengals met one time in the playoffs previously and that was in 1970. Then in Baltimore, the Colts defeated the Bengals 17-0 at Memorial Stadium thanks to a pair of Johnny Unitas touchdown passes and a defense that allowed just 139 totals yards. That team would go on to beat the Raiders in the conference championship and then the Cowboys in Super Bowl V in Miami.
Indianapolis completed the season with a 27-10 win over the Titans at LP Field on Sunday to finish 11-5 for the third consecutive season. The Colts won the AFC South for a second straight season and did so without losing to a divisional foe.
Already times and dates have been set if the Colts can get past the Wild Card round and advance to the Divisional round. Should they beat the Bengals and the Steelers defeat the Ravens then the Colts will face the top-seeded Patriots on Saturday, Jan. 10 at Gillette Stadium at 4:35 p.m.
If sixth-seeded Baltimore upends Pittsburgh on the road, the Colts would travel to face Peyton Manning and the Broncos on Sunday, Jan. 11 at 4:40 p.m.
Unlike their game against the Bengals the Colts would have some bad history against both potential Divisional round opponents. Denver beat the Colts in the season opener 31-24 at Sports Authority Field while the Patriots scored an impressive 42-20 win at Lucas Oil Stadium in November.
Overall, the Colts are 5-6 in Wild Card round games but their last one was a historic moment for the franchise. After trailing 38-10, the Colts rallied back to beat the Chiefs 45-44 earlier this year at Lucas Oil Stadium–the first playoff win in the Pagano era.