With the Colts’ win on Sunday to improve to 4-5 on the year, the AFC South got a bit more interesting.
The division has been the worst in the NFL for a while, and this year has been no different - they’re the only division in football to have all four teams with a negative point differential. But because of the terribleness that is the AFC South, the Colts are still very much alive in the playoff hunt despite their rough start.
The Texans remain in first place with a 5-3 record, and they had their bye week today so they remained neutral. With the Colts’ upset of the Packers and the Titans’ loss to the Chargers, both teams are 4-5 and the Colts hold the tiebreaker thanks to their head-to-head victory over Tennessee a few weeks ago. And then in last place with a 2-6 record is the Jacksonville Jaguars, who lost to the Kansas City Chiefs today. Here’s the division standings, with this week’s result in parenthesis:
- Houston Texans, 5-3 (bye week)
- Indianapolis Colts, 4-5 (won 31-26)
- Tennessee Titans, 4-5 (lost 35-43)
- Jacksonville Jaguars, 2-6 (lost 14-19)
So the Colts aren’t too far out of the Texans from the division lead, and here’s what’s particularly interesting: the Colts will play four of their final seven games at home this year, including home games against all three AFC South opponents. So if the Colts can build off of their success from Sunday’s game against the Packers and pull out some wins (particularly some division wins), they’re not out of it by any means.
There’s still a long way to go before the end of this season, and let’s not overreact to one win - because this is still a bad team that hasn’t played well for most of the season. But with how weak the AFC South is (the Colts actually have the second-best point differential in the division behind the Titans), a bad team will probably wind up winning the division anyway. And with the way the Colts played today, it’s a reminder to everyone to not count them out quite yet. But to turn things around this year will take the team putting together better play than they’ve done so far, which is certainly no given.