There is no doubt that the Colts' 24-21 win over the Atlanta Falcons was huge. It wasn't the prettiest game nor the most well-played, but the Colts notched a much-needed victory to stay atop the AFC South.
The Colts entered the week in first place in the division despite a 4-5 record thanks to owning the head-to-head tiebreakers over the three other AFC South teams. The Houston Texans had an identical 4-5 record but had lost to the Colts earlier this year, leaving Indy in first place. But it was clear that the Texans and the Jacksonville Jaguars were both pursuing the Colts in the division.
The Jaguars defeated the Tennessee Titans on Thursday night 19-13 to improve to 4-6, and the Texans defeated the New York Jets today 24-17 to improve to 5-5. In other words, if the Colts lost today, they would be tied (though with the tiebreaker advantage) with the Jaguars in second place in the division behind the Texans with six games to go.
The Colts managed to pull out a win thanks to an Adam Vinatieri 43-yard field goal in the final minute, however, to stay atop the division. The Colts evened their record up at 5-5, reaching .500 once again and staying in a tie for first place with the Texans with identical 5-5 records and a game ahead of the Jaguars. The Colts hold the tiebreaker, though, so they stay in first place.
Today's game was understandably big, then, but even bigger will be the remaining AFC South matchups for Indy. The Colts have won 16 games in a row against their division (an NFL record), but they will play the Texans and Jaguars in back-to-back weeks in mid-December. Those two games could go a long way to determining who will win the AFC South. As of right now, though, the Colts remain the favorites as they stay in first place in the division with their win today.