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Colts stay atop suddenly competitive AFC South with win

With their win today, the Indianapolis Colts stay atop the AFC South, though the Houston Texans just keep winning and waiting for the Colts to falter.

Joe Robbins/Getty Images

Early in the season, many people were discussing whether the AFC South in 2015 would be the worst division in league history.  Now, in week twelve, it's not even the worst division in the NFL this year and is shaping up for an exciting finish in the final weeks of the season.

The Indianapolis Colts won 25-12 today over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, while the Houston Texans won 24-6 over the New Orleans Saints.  Both teams improved to 6-5 on the year, tied atop the AFC South.  Because the Colts won in Houston 27-20 earlier this year, however, the Colts stay in first place by a half of a game due to that tiebreaker.  The Jacksonville Jaguars, who were looking to make a push for the division title, saw those hopes take a hit today after losing 31-25 to the San Diego Chargers.  The Jaguars dropped to 4-7 on the year and would need to both go on a great run and need the Colts and Texans to falter down the stretch this year.  And the Titans?  Well, they fell to 2-9 on the season with a 24-21 loss to the Oakland Raiders.

The real drama in the division comes from the fact that the Colts and the Texans are incredibly close at this point.  Because of the success of both teams, their week 15 matchup in Indianapolis on December 20 looms incredibly large.  That could very well be the game that determines the division champion, but perhaps more remarkable (at least considering where this division was earlier in the season) is that the second place team actually has a legitimate shot at making the playoffs as a wild card.  The Texans (winners of four in a row) and the Colts (winners of three in a row) are both playing their best football of the year entering December and are tied with a 6-5 record, meaning that this final month of the season will see a competitive push for the division title.

Hey, at least the AFC South isn't the NFC East.  The Colts and the Texans are atop the AFC South with 6-5 records, while the Redskins and the Giants are atop the AFC East with 5-6 records.  Not only is the AFC South no longer the worst division in the league this year, it also could be one of the most entertaining and competitive division races in the final month of the season.  With their win today, though, the Colts maintained their hold on first place.