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Colts did not get much help from AFC South during bye week

NFL: Indianapolis Colts at Houston Texans Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Several NFL teams had bye weeks this weekend, and for some it was more beneficial than others when it comes to the standings. The Detroit Lions, for example, benefitted greatly from their bye week, as with the other three teams in their division all losing the Lions took over first place in the NFC North.

The Indianapolis Colts weren’t as fortunate, however, as the Houston Texans and Tennessee Titans both won, dropping the Colts to third place in the division (they entered the day in second place thanks to their tiebreaker over the Titans). The Texans defeated the Jacksonville Jaguars 24-21 to improve to 6-3, while the Titans defeated the Green Bay Packers 47-25 to improve to 5-5. The Colts, meanwhile, sit at 4-5, while the Jaguars dropped to just 2-7 on the season.

Here’s the full AFC South standings:

  1. Houston Texans (6-3)
  2. Tennessee Titans (5-5)
  3. Indianapolis Colts (4-5)
  4. Jacksonville Jaguars (2-7)

So while not playing the Colts fell another game behind the Texans and were jumped by the Titans, meaning that they weren’t helped out much by the AFC South. That leaves the Colts with little margin for error during the final seven games, but the good news is that they’re still in contention. With home games against the Titans (this Sunday), Texans (December 11), and Jaguars (January 1) all still left on the schedule, the Colts are still in good shape... as long as they can take care of business in their remaining games. Because with the bye week putting Indianapolis even more behind Houston and with a wild card spot looking very unlikely for the division, the Colts will need to play much better than they have so far this year. That will start this Sunday with a huge matchup with the Titans, one the Colts can’t afford to lose.

This weekend was also a significant one in another way for the AFC South: they finally don’t have all four teams with a negative point differential! For much of the season they were the only division in football with all four teams having a negative point differential, but with the Titans’ big win on Sunday over the Packers they now stand at +13 on the season. In that metric the Colts are next with a -17 differential, followed by the Texans (-27) and Jaguars (-65).