AFC South Standings
Despite the talk before the season began about all the typical powerhouses being certified locks for the playoffs again, this season has dished out some surprises already and this week was no exception. The Titans shocked the Seahawks and handed them a loss in a matchup that has raised further questions about the Seahawks’ offense as well as just how good the Titans really are. The Jaguars beat up on a Ravens team that had boasted one of the best defenses in football prior, on their way to a 44-7 victory in London. While they didn’t come away with the win, the Texans very nearly went into Foxboro with a rookie quarterback and beat the Patriots, something that just doesn’t happen.
The question is what does all this mean? First, it means that like all seasons, we don’t know as much as we think we do. All AFC North Teams lost their games this week and only one of them played a playoff team from last year. Football is a perplexing sport. As far as the AFC South goes, the Colts are still very much in the mix. In fact, with a win next week and a Titans’ loss the Colts would be first in the division.
Getting those wins is important because contrary to the general feeling from Colts fans, this team is absolutely capable of making the playoffs. What they are capable of doing once there remains to be seen. Given the stumbles of several of the top teams so far there is room for other teams to rise, and the Colts have an advantage their AFC South opponents do not.
The Colts and Andrew Luck seem to be targeting week 6, their away matchup against the Titans as his return date. That may not hold given that he will not be participating in practice this week. But by that point, each team in the AFC South will have faced a divisional opponent at least twice. The Colts haven’t had any divisional games yet, and if the timeline holds up, won’t have to play any without Andrew Luck. That is a huge win for them and a gift from the schedule makers.
The next 3-4 weeks will begin to give a better picture of the NFL as teams begin to spread out a little. The Texans and Jaguars have tough matchups coming up and how they perform will be very revealing about their potential. The Texans have the Titans at home, then the Chiefs and Browns before their bye. The Jaguars go to the Jets, then travel to Pittsburgh before hosting the Rams and then coming to Indianapolis.
This stretch of the season is critical to the Colts’ success. While it is evident that the coaching will not dramatically improve, there has been enough production from the young defensive talent accrued through the draft and free agency to think that an elite quarterback rejoining the roster makes this team competitive for the top spot in the division.