The Indianapolis Colts are just 1-2 on the season, but they’re right in the midst of the AFC South race.
They are currently tied for second in the division with the Tennessee Titans, and they are just one game out of the first place Houston Texans (2-1). With 13 games left to go and with all six divisional games left, the Colts still have plenty of time to turn things around and make a run into the playoffs. And if they’re going to do so, now is their best chance.
The Colts will face the 0-3 Jaguars in London this Sunday before then returning home to face the 0-3 Chicago Bears at Lucas Oil Stadium. The next week they’ll have a Sunday night showdown in Houston against the 2-1 Texans (who recently lost J.J. Watt for the season) and then travel to Tennessee for a matchup with the 1-2 Titans. So the Colts’ next two opponents are both currently winless, while their next four opponents combined are 3-9 this year. Those four games include three division games, with all three coming on the road. So in other words, if the Colts can run the table over the next month they’ll be 5-2 with wins over each AFC South team and with the only divisional games left on the schedule taking place at home.
It certainly won’t be easy, however. A trip to London (and a trip back), a trip to Houston, and three division games in a four-week stretch is never easy, but it likely will be the easiest opportunity the Colts have this year to take control of the AFC South. After their week seven game against the Titans, the Colts will then face the Kansas City Chiefs (currently 2-1) at home and the Green Bay Packers (currently 2-1) on the road before their bye week. In fact, over the Colts’ final nine games they will face just one non-divisional opponent without a winning record through the first three weeks (the Jets, who are 1-2). The schedule includes a Thanksgiving night matchup with the Steelers, a road Monday night game against the Jets, a trip to Minnesota to play the surging Vikings, a Christmas Eve game in Oakland against the Raiders, and three division games. When comparing that with the upcoming four games, it’s clear that the Colts have a great opportunity in front of them to turn things around.
That’s not to say the Colts’ season is doomed if they struggle in the next month (although it certainly would hurt their chances), but the best chance for them to put themselves back in front of the AFC South race is in these next four games.