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Despite loss, Colts stay in first place in the AFC South thanks to the Patriots

Yes, the Indianapolis Colts lost on Sunday. But they also stayed in first place in the AFC South thanks to the Patriots beating the Texans on Sunday Night Football.

Andy Lyons/Getty Images

The Indianapolis Colts lost in embarrassing fashion on Sunday afternoon to the Jacksonville Jaguars, 51-16.  Yet the Indianapolis Colts will also go to bed leading the AFC South once again thanks to, believe it or not, the New England Patriots.

The Patriots defeated the Houston Texans in Houston on Sunday Night Football, ending the Texans' stay atop the AFC South after just a few hours.  If the Texans had won, they would have been 7-6 and in sole possession of first place.  Because they lost, however, they are 6-7 - the same record as the Colts.  And, as has been the case for the past few weeks, because the Colts currently own the head-to-head tiebreaker thanks to their week five win over the Texans, the Colts are in first place.

If the Texans wind up losing the division, they'll have no one to blame but themselves.  The Colts have now been blown out in two straight games - losing by 35 in each game - but the Texans have lost two in a row as well, failing to capitalize on the Colts' losses.  Because of that, the Colts aren't losing ground despite their losses, something that could wind up being key down the road.

Of course, we don't need to look too far down the road to see the biggest game of the season for both the Colts and the Texans.  Next week in Indianapolis, these two teams will meet for an absolutely huge AFC South matchup, one that could very well determine the division winner.  The Colts still control their own destiny, as if they win out they will win the division.  A win next week is the biggest one they need, as that would result in a Colts sweep on the season and give the Colts a solid lead in the division going into the final two weeks of the season.  If the Texans win, however, the Colts will need some help to make the playoffs.  It won't be impossible, but it also won't be solely in their control anymore.

As of right now, though, the Colts still control their own destiny, as they stay in first place in the AFC South thanks to the Patriots beating the Texans.  And as has been the case for several weeks now, it looks like the division could come down to a massive showdown in Indianapolis next week.